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Two Poems

Lovely is the World
—after Yehuda Amichai

It is still early in this century
and there is still a lingering

scent of hope, and flowers
still decorate cemeteries and

even in camps where families offer
bread-prayers mixed with elegies

children play tag in razorwire alleys
and lovely is the world

that forgets its own name
and lovely is the world

that pledges its allegiance
to the detergent that removes the stain

while still subtly worshiping
the source of the stain

and lovely is the world
that silences the already silent

and soaks the dawndraped
flag in the waters between

the worlds and lovely
is the day when the world

is no longer lovely but loved
and we who are loveless

can wrap ourselves in threadbare
mercy and abandon the peace

we’ve created out of overheard
translations and lovely

are the battlements from which
we hang our surrender sheets

and lovely are you my sweet
little god and all the worlds

I’ve made to keep you in
and all the worlds I’ve made

to keep you in.


Love Poem with Seagull

Because love is a dead fish on a rock on the shore of Lake Erie
and love is my daughter wanting her picture with the dessicated

backbone. Because if dragons existed they would always
be lonely and sad like the old man who sits on the pier and talks

to the seagulls. My daughter believes in dragons
because I told her to. When I leave her I am lonely

like an old dragon eating seagulls. I have other loves
and they are good and whole like a city-state in ancient Greece.

I have a girlfriend, she’s the Corinth to my Athens,
my isthmus. If she were a seagull she would comfort

the old men and charm the dragons and she would pose
for pictures with nine-year-olds who beg their fathers

to photograph the same damn seagull as it does
seagull things on the edge of a pier. For days my daughter and I

have been making maps of imaginary archipelagos
and I swear I’ve never loved her more

than when we are creating new islands and new stories.
My islands are full of dragons and my girlfriend

is going to live on one with us and the waves will carry
bits of truth in their teeth and their crashing will sound

like the sighs of seagulls as they take bread from old men
because love is blank space on a map just waiting for ink.

Adam Hughes lives with his wife and children in central Virginia where he is a (very) adjunct professor and a (very) amateur rugby player.