Six Poems

by Scott Hughes


The Breathing Dark

for Sara

You held me for a million million years
in boundless darkness without fear
before I was I and be was be,
before blinding sky and rocking sea,
before I knew you could disappear.

Your whisper breathed my body here.
Until you spoke, I had no ears,
no mind to fathom the mystery
held in you a million million years.

With closed eyes, I still felt you near,
though blistering sun began to sear
the vision you had gifted me.
Darkness is not what blind men see.
Our eyes burn with countless fiery spheres—
stars dying for a million million years.

Charon’s Obol

On Father’s Day,
my dad buries
his own father,

tucks a penny
in his father’s
stiff hand, and I

want to take
the coin to put
in my dad’s hand

when he ends
this journey
and begins another.

For My Child, Who Will Never Exist

You will never know
the ache of ticking seconds,
of realizing certainty
doesn’t exist except
for inevitable uncertainty,
of the dawning agony
that you are trapped
in slowly dying meat
waiting to become
the eternal radiance
you already are.

For Anya—August 6, 2018

Today you rise
not from sleep
but from this
into something
more, and outside,
the clouds are still
as though you
are holding
them in place
for me to see,
to remember
this moment,
to live in this
wondrous now.

The Wind of We

For a moment, forget
the force that holds us
together, that binds
our atoms one to another
and keeps them
from flying apart
into a cloud of ourselves
that the next passing breeze
might waft away, dispersing
the microscopic homogeny
of you and me and them
across the globe.

Workshop Poem

This is not a poem
about your stupid cat
or your grandmother’s hands
or the small of your lover’s back,
not the pomegranate you savored
or the decadent marzipan
you bought in Florence
or that poem you wrote
just to use the word marzipan,
not the time you got high
or all those other times you got high
or that meaningful exchange
you had with the homeless man,
not the mountain you climbed
or the ocean you swam
or the universe you swallowed whole
like a goddamn ping pong ball.

Scott Hughes’s fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in CrazyhorseOne Sentence PoemsEntropyDeep MagicCarbon Culture ReviewRedivider,Redheaded StepchildPopMattersStrange HorizonsChantwood MagazineOdd Tales of WonderThe Haunted TravelerExquisite CorpsePure SlushWord Riot, and Compaso: Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology. His short story collection, The Last Book You’ll Ever Read, is forthcoming from Weasel Press in early 2019. For more information, visit

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