Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

homo sapien

BY LUTHER HUGHES

i spat blood into the sink to remind myself
i’m more than an entrance. tongue to the roof
 
of my mouth, i cinched my gift. patient
as the reds journeyed to the sink’s dark navel.
 
when i ran the water, my hands pleaded
washing. like hummingbirds, they ruffled,
 
beads of clear sprung from their wet dance,
gleamed as if a hailstorm of glass. being organic,
 
my thumb nail dug into wrist, revealed
its white secrets. more blood unfurled, mixed
 
 into the frantic cleanse, and the birds slowed—
            i’ll tell you, it was a perfect time to be alive.
 
as the new swallowed the old, i watched
the birds prune. then flinch as temperatures
 
erected. to see how tough the skin, what makes flesh
flare its true self, i didn’t move. i bit off my lip.
 
tucked it away inside the cheek’s delicate,
aside the slimy gum. my eyes were drunk
 
in pain and surveyed the coral husk for more.
            when to move? i thought the body knew when
 
enough was enough. steam hung above the scene,
above my thick skull, like a thirsty vulture
 
waiting for my collapse.              i’ll tell you again, i was perfect.
numbness birthed quietly from my beautiful palms,
 
rolled itself up my forearms, made home inside
the muscles’ joint and shard. a timeless glove, 
 
if nothing else. once nerves abandoned movement,
when bones forgot their latin root, i mumbled
in happiness. watched the sink slip out of sight.



Luther Hughes is a Seattle native, but is currently an MFA candidate in the Writing Program at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Shade Journal and Associate Poetry Editor for The Offing. Winner of the Brutal Nation Poetry Prize and Windy City Times Chicago, 30 Under 30 Honoree, Luther’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Columbia Poetry Review, Vinyl, NAILED, Solstice Literary Magazine, and others. You can follow him on Twitter @lutherxhughes. He thinks you are beautiful.