Suppose you’re a gazelle, scanning the grass
in search of lions, cheetahs, the endless
dangers of life as the pursued. Maybe
you would see rocks as cats, death in the grass
even where there is only dirt and moles
and things already dead adding their dust
to the layers of dust millions of years
in the making. Everywhere dying.
I remember the time we danced outside
hearing coyotes as they drew nearer,
the woods echoing with their chattering,
we were not scared of them, not being small
like rabbits, not being alone like lost
children, the only thing to fear being
the shadow panthers lurking just beyond
reality. Nothing lasts forever.
Suppose you’re a gazelle again, still there
watching the motion of the savannah,
wondering which ripple was wind and which
was wild and what even was the difference
between the two. One eye always looking
at the elsewhere, one left to view what’s real—
home, children, the chewing of grass, love, sky,
the smile you smile in spite of the teeth
in spite of the thousand eyes just waiting
for you to fail, to falter, to give up.
One eye is enough to look for danger,
but one is not enough to see the real,
sometimes you have to expose the whiteness
of your throat in order to see the life
around you, full of fear yet unafraid.
Adam Hughes is the author of four full-length poetry collections, most recently Allow the Stars to Catch Me When I Rise (Salmon Poetry, 2017) and Deep Cries Out to Deep(Aldrich Press, 2017). Born and raised in Central Ohio, he now resides in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains where he is pursuing an MFA at Randolph College. Should you google him, he is not the Adam Hughes who draws near-pornographic depictions of female superheroes. This particular Adam Hughes cannot draw.