Poems – Katherine Hughes

Two dollar cover band,

typical on a Friday night.

We could have gone to the wine garden

in the alley.

Steve wanted to try the biker bar instead.

Neon markers decorate the sign behind the bar.

I order the special off the board.

They should call it Friday’s dishwater instead of

a margarita.

It is too cheap to switch it out for something else.

I wished I had a cigarette to mask the cheap tequila on my tongue.

Now I regret not ordering a bottled beer like the other

moms sitting at the back tables.

They’re all dressed in their Friday best.

Tube-tops and jeans they wouldn’t want their daughters to wear.

The cover singer could be a math teacher.

You wouldn’t be able to tell from the pinkish lighting.

His black and rose biker shirt fits with the panel wood flooring.

One chick in the back is the only one who rocks with the song.

“You know the words,” he cuts in.

The bar sings along and you can see the sweat blends in with the singer’s hair-gel.

It is just after 11PM.

The band fades fast the more cobblestone road I walk on.

My dishwater condensates on to the coaster,

marking the last time I order from a specials board.



The First Home I Remember,

we had a pond.                                                                                                                      

It was filled with dyed, blue water.

I think it was to hide the fact that

we didn’t have fish.

My sister fell in

by accident,                                                                                                                                 

So, she had to soak in the tub

before the guests came,

For a dinner party.

She had fallen into a painter’s pallet.

Walking like a bird caught in oil.                                                                                                

Dripping blue across the yard’s tiles

and

her shirt was never white again.

            I didn’t need to change my clothes

            For                                                                                                                                

            a blue               dot                   on my sock was the only mark on me

            of the incident.



205 Seabright

Eight years ago, the hospital sent her home with a

morphine drip to die. The same week, I failed my health

test.

That May, we drove the four hours to her house to go

through her treasures.

The same roads I had traveled year after year before that

day,

to see great-grandma at the beach.

205 Seabright Avenue.

The main floor,

stacked five feet high, and the

door opened just enough to squeeze through.

They had painted away the yellow must and burnt dust I

grew up with, the walls were now a fresh, white protégé.

I could only shame them in my mind when my grandma

asks how it looks.

It’s nice and bright, I reply.

I pick the wooden horse pulling a cart out of the discard

pile, my mom says it has a broken wheel. I always loved

it though,             I tell her.

My grandma has the exact one, in her house, next to a

kiwi bird from New Zealand. 

The wooden horse and cart now sit on my bookshelf,

next to my copy of Gone with the Wind.

The house is a hoarder’s closet, with a television. 

The two-seat couch and 5 by 5 inches area of open carpet

space is the only room.

We find on the desk, a Travel Guide to Alaska.

Orca whales,

Icebergs,

And salmon.

An empty house stands on a Monday morning. The sun

peaks through the dirty screen. I sit on the flowered

patterned couch one last time. The sun bounces off the

beaten rose carpet that still has wheelchair tracks

embedded in it.

Katherine Hughes is a writer and an Adjunct English professor in Florida. She holds an MA in Creative Writing. Katherine is a fan of trivia quizzes, baking, and lavender lattes. There are a lot of ideas swirling in her head. Sometimes they turn into poems and fiction stories.

Connect with her at: https://alwayskatherine.com  and @alwayskatherineblog

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