Luther Hughes


Though it might lead to drowning. I hardly remember the sound. The gulp
my throat made. Tell me your throat is similar. The soft walls expanding
then resting, then. It was okay. I had enough room from never
being whole. Was that good enough reason? There are many reasons
for wanting to die. A white spider in the kitchen corner, I flooded, poured
down the drain. A white butterfly muttering above, smashed with my hand, flushed.
I was the type of blackness who knew his power,
so I owned it. When I seen a dove floating in a pond, I wrenched it
further. When a white boy asked me to fuck him in the bathtub, I swelled. Inside him,
he hurt. His expression filled. A year later, I thirsted for that. I drank wine in old
bathwater and heard the rain seeping beneath the earth’s thick coat like a fever.
I let go under the weight, gave in, gave legs to fullness, imagined a blue ocean.
That formless thing so wide, so needed. And so a home in that wet. But I came back. Wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you get out the tub, run outside into the rain screaming mine?

Luther Hughes is a Seattle native and author of Touched (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2018). He is the Founder/Editor-in- Chief of the Shade Journal and Associate Poetry Editor for The Offing. A Windy City Times Chicago: 30 Under 30 Honoree, his work has been published or is forthcoming in Columbia Poetry Review, Vinyl, BOAAT, Tinderbox, and others. Luther is currently an MFA candidate in the Writing Program at Washington University in St. Louis. You can follow him on Twitter @lutherxhughes. He thinks you are beautiful.