Near Sacrament

Sometimes, it is a dream:
the robin’s slick song
paring back the morning—

                                       it is not morning,
or, it is not like how morning comes,
as if water from a glass 

tipped over, but it is how
I loved you, gradually
and then all at once. 

Cherry plum trees
settling into their blush;
hills of sodden wheat; 

this golden field
I can’t stop returning to:
you, naked, inching towards me, 

an adaptation of tenderness
and force—
brief lights 

that fall gently
from your hands.
If only the landscape were that simple: 

pollen in the air, each breath
leaving the mouth like a man
pushed from a building—

no, no. He leapt.
To what do I owe your beauty
to which I never fully required, 

and yet, while beneath you, is what bloomed.
This is how I began: as dirt
and desire, or simply a small river, 

but moving—
to where? 

Luther Hughes is the author of the debut poetry collection, A Shiver in the Leaves, (BOA Editions), and the chapbook Touched (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2018). He is the founder of Shade Literary Arts, a literary organization for queer writers of color, and co-hosts The Poet Salon podcast with Gabrielle Bates and Dujie Tahat. Recipient of the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship and 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize, his work has been published in various journal, magazines, and newspapers. Luther was born and raised in Seattle, where he currently lives.