Elizabeth Hughey

Elizabeth Hughey is the author two poetry collections: Sunday Houses the Sunday House (University of Iowa Press) and Guest Host (National Poetry Review Press). She is a recipient of Poetry Fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is the co-founder and Programming Director of the the Desert Island Supply Co. (DISCO), a literary arts center in Birmingham, Alabama. Find her on Twitter: @lizhughey; Instagram: @lizhughey.



The Davids


We felt like pennies dropped

from separate airplanes

landing in the same glass.


These are the redwoods

we drove through

on the edge of the country


as far as we could get

and still feel attached

to our mothers, grass hills


the color of light beer

this is where I waited

for the bus in my headphones


and cords, that’s the trail

where I ran on Saturdays

passing the same black


comb pressed into the sand.

The first time I saw the comb

I was thinking about David


and then every time I passed it

I thought about David

and then the other David.


I want to show the redwoods

how happy I am now.

They make their own rain.


This is where I heard

for the first time, He couldn’t

find his way out of a wet paper bag


on the twenty second floor

of the Bank of America building

I sent my boss to the wrong city


in Texas for a meeting.

In front of the building

there is a work of art


made of black rock

the Banker’s Heart

it pulls down the sky


between city buildings.

I couldn’t find my way

out of a wet paper bag.


Nobody could pick him up.

I come back here to run

out of my body, again. Two


Davids. One alive, expecting

a son and one gone so long

I don’t remember where I saw him.




Choke Pear


I have choke,

and I have hold.

Search for throat


in Bull’s words.

A girl’s hands

on a bat as though


it were a rope

that could lift her

out of here.


Those were real feelings

in the outfield

I tell myself, people


have real feelings

on baseball fields.

They don’t feel real


now, though. Find

fat in fatality.

Hot, fat.


Not good at it.

The feelings feel

rained out.


We fight hard

to keep words

from coming out


of our mouths.

Find sob in sober.

Find bitter.


Choke pear

a pear that is

too hard


and bitter to eat.

That fall

ten years later


living back

with my parents

after college,


discovering pears,

when I would not

let myself eat enough


legs aching from running

but pears were allowed

find bite in prohibited


nights watching TV

taking the littlest bites

leaving just the wet core


like the backbone

of a small bird

in my hand.






A man sits alone in a house next door

to a man alone in his house next door

to me. One of these houses is yours.


We walk over your footsteps.

We breathe in the words that you

blew out. You left us a bird,


one that you’d been trying to catch.

Snow falls in the form of a last name.

It has taken fifty years for the sounds


of the fireworks to wake us

and we never saw the show.

We were children put to bed early.


The teacher said all men go

to the same place to dream

but that is not where we go to see you.


Every window has your face in it.

We don’t care which house it is.

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