Heather Hughes

3 Poems

Specter: Survivor

Strapped down in a room. Cream and that ugly green that reflects

back ugly: you bruised, terrible, calm. Too much, the mute bulb-

flicker. Mountains crowd against the window. I edge in.

The knob flinches in my hand. I see your purple swaying. You

rasp Not me. How tall you look laid out between the sheets.

The door’s yet cracked. Mountains jostle in the hall. I stay,

wishing someone else would show. Maybe you curled into

another green-white waste. Maybe the mountains did this to you, too.

  

Specter: Supplication

 

I scan warped riptides.

 

I believe in endings.

 

Lighthouses, too.

 

When I die, plant me in dune grass.

 

Return.

Read one page aloud each night.

  

Altitude Sick

I’m woozy and spectral.

A metal band hemorrhages

power chords in the Plaza

 

outside the cathedral, maybe

an homage to the Black Christ

at the altar, his skin a crackle

 

of candle-soot, who is resting

before he parades forth

in his wild gold-fringed skirt,

 

and who doesn’t worry

that the sacred is shakily built

by dismantling glory.

 

I’m leaving Cusco tomorrow

with three ugly fuschia llama

souvenirs for you.