Amorak Huey


The variations of any story, the sum of our choices.
Which is to suggest infinite possibility,

but electricity does seek certain trees.
Convenient to say you were evicted from the garden,

that given your pick between righteousness
& the world you could not resist taste of iron on tongue,

heat of forge on flesh: to feel something,
that’s all you asked, & to be looked at without pity,

to be touched the way hammer touches.
This is flame, & you are first to see it

& after that it does not matter what you do.
Sometimes you rise from water,

or you battle cruel sea,
or you have two faces, but the truth

exists only in reflection of lightning in river:
two shimmering bodies moving askew,

sudden, temporary, fractured
there’s particular unkindness in such jagged light.

When she leaves, you put the cities ablaze.
Still, she does not return.

Desire creates, devours:
to burn is to love. You cannot be blamed

for what rises unbidden from fire.


A man is never as young as his older brother thinks.

The rules of the genre demand a lesson learned,
a compromise reached, realizations all around

but a man knows his motorcycle is exactly as safe as he wants it to be

and the promise that each of us contains
the best and worst of the other

is not exactly a lie – more like a whisper
in someone else’s voice, a neat way
of wrapping up an implausible third act

when you’ve backed your story into yet another abandoned factory
             and your nemesis has the drop on you

the path out is laid with oil slicks, ridiculously vicious machinery,
             a lifetime of lost keys,
             hand-me-down shoes,
             unasked-for advice.

A man has no choice but to accelerate. Forward
             into the roar.


Amorak Huey, a longtime newspaper editor and reporter, now teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. His collection Ha Ha Ha Thump will be published by Sundress Publications in 2015, and his chapbook The Insomniac Circus is forthcoming in 2014 from Hyacinth Girl Press. Poems appear in The Best American Poetry 2012, The Cincinnati Review, The Collagist, Menacing Hedge, Poet Lore, Rattle, and many other print and online journals. Follow him on Twitter: @amorak.