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Making the Bed

He takes the sheets to his nose. They are fresh out the dryer, more ashen than any overcast in this city.

When he brings the fitted sheet

to the first corner, his blades flirt. I desperately want his making to end

with a kiss on my forehead. But his bullness is what I love,

reappearing as the sheet snaps back

into his hooves. And again, he stretches

the fitted sheet. More puissant, he becomes fictional. He tucks

the second sheet under the mattress

along the ribs. His arms unzip a lightning bolt when he whips the clever ocean across.

What God gave him sovereignty

over ordinary things of my life? I have endured much this tenure.

I stomached a panther of pills

and was relieved. You know

what else persuades me? Rain

fingering the open window,

my mother’s voice singing,

In the morning, we’ll be alright. In the morning, the sun’s gonna shine.

I tell him my mother asked if I was on drugs again. How does that make you feel? he exhales, smoothing the blanket

with one swipe of his behemoth arm.

And I think of his breath spidering

my breath, my ass as it ripples into his pelvis. I am watching him,

my man, and I am wanting us as we were last night before we finished and became a moat of constellations. He fluffs each pillow

as he always does, has. He checks his work. It was good.


LUTHER HUGHES, born and raised in Seattle, is the author of A Shiver in the Leaves (BOA Editions, 2022) and the chapbook Touched (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2018). Founder of Shade Literary Arts, and Executive Editor for The Offing, he co-hosts The Poet Salon podcast with Gabrielle Bates and Dujie Tahat. His work has been published in Poetry, Paris Review, The Rumpus, New England Review, and others. He is the recipient of the 2020 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship and the 2020 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize. Luther received his MFA from Washington University in St. Louis.


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