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Poems by Mary Gray Hughes

by Mary Gray Hughes


It would save time to give in, to accept

I write best about ice

and not the sun.

Dead flowers have stronger

scent in words I use

than blossoms do.

Some tender turns of mind

crave puffy clouds

or kitten strokes,

but eyeless skulls see most:

a gaping hole for nose, the grin

of flesh-freed teeth in bone;

these unmask

life that I

can show.


I am meant to be an oyster

but have lost my shell

so wander bare, everywhere,

though every current

smacks against soft tissue

never once before in touch

with anything beyond

that hardened crust,

and even so excited

by this novelty unseen

for oysters have no eye

yet who but I

can tell you how

the merest wind

sends pressures down

upon an oyster's skin.

Revisions May Not Be Improvements

What I gain in breadth

I may lose in bite,

call it bitterness

if you will.

It may be my sole


the hook that grips

in the gut and holds

may be best

if unsmoothed,

if sharp,

may cause more,

if unpleasanter, feeling

exactly because

you feel it

in you.