Luther Hughes


From the Lynched

Dear Blood,              There is no god this angle. 
I finger the spray of maggots. It is tiresome
decaying inward to dust. Unblooming an angel
from the core, I grit my wings until a sear flares

the porous bones. O Blood! Can you see where I storm? 
It is dark. There are constellations: bruised, feral.
Here, my body, I tell the night. Here is how you time
a withering animal: watch the scaled-skin 

bleed the heart hollow. Watch the blonding leaf
at the crown of tree bow when winds sink
the eyes to skull. This is not false. This is not false.
My dead shrieks from the toughest branch,

morphs the black mouth and the mouth
flees the face as a moth. 


Riding with Death

He was the last stallion
I rode,
dick-hungry: not yet
soot: my mouth
behind the darkness—a pure
mammal, his bones unskinned
and I, spooled
of rubies, opened like a zipper
on its threads, seams clotting
before stripped.
My face morphed
into one eye
when the horse’s hind
legs spoke
and I spoke and my thighs gripped
the homely animal’s ribcage,
each rib-bone
But understand this: I loved him,
madly, meat seething romance,
clicked, dipped
into the cold kiss of his thinness,
his wilderness
of maggots and waxwing moths gnawed
the skull-sockets until static.
It was his naked that haunted—
those skillet hips would swallow
my young suckling, jaw widen. 
Still: if you look at him 
flat spine, trotting on four,
who’d think Grim Reaper? Satin cloak? Stainless
O poor Death, poor savage beast, you thought
my end would birth here, our bodies wrestling
to become one nature. 
You see, my love, I’m what the ancestors
engraved into the midnight indigo.
Infinite and godly:
when you arrived
at my door, I whipped you
in the ass
and the ass bowed in my name
like a sunset.


Luther Hughes photo.jpg

Luther Hughes is a Seattle native, author of the chapbook, 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, Solstice Literary Magazine, 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.