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Where I Come From

by Sara Pirkle Hughes

Here, there’s no such thing
as dreams, just time
and the slant of time’s shadow
melting on the grass.
When someone dies,
all the proper neighbors
produce sweet potato pies.

The grown-ups stand around
and pretend to understand
the conspiracies of death,
while secretly wishing
to touch someone, anyone
besides their beloveds.
Why can’t they form a circle
like in middle school,
and start a kissing chain?

That would be heaven—
to kiss and then
be kissed again.
Beyond the churchyard cemetery,
pines stretch their necks
under an auburn sun,
and dirt paths wind
deep into the woods
like a man’s fingers
in a woman’s hair.

Sara Pirkle Hughes’s first book, The Disappearing Act, won the 2016 Adrienne Bond Award for Poetry and is forthcoming from Mercer University Press. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, the Best of the Net Anthology and the Independent Best American Poetry Award.  She has published in dozens of literary journals, including Rattle, Reed, Rosebud, Emrys, Atlanta Review, Juxtaprose and Atticus Review, among others.  She has received writing fellowships from I-Park Foundation and The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. She teaches at Middle Georgia State University in Macon, Georgia.

Her poem Why We Couldn’t Stay was published earlier this month in Deep South. 

Final Destination