ghazal of the better-unbegun :: heather mchugh

A book is a suicide postponed.

Too volatile, am I? too voluble? too much a word-person?
I blame the soup: I’m a primordially
stirred person.

Two pronouns and a vehicle was Icarus with wings.
The apparatus of his selves made an ab-
surd person.

The sound I make is sympathy’s: sad dogs are tied afar.
But howling I become an ever more un-
heard person.

I need a hundred more of you to make a likelihood.
The mirror’s not convincing– that at-best in-
ferred person.

As time’s revealing gets revolting, I start looking out.
Look in and what you see is one unholy
blurred person.

The only cure for birth one doesn’t love to contemplate.
Better to be an unsung song, an unoc-
curred person.

McHugh, you’ll be the death of me — each self and second studied!
Addressing you like this, I’m halfway to the
third person.

not to be dwelled on :: heather mchugh

Self-interest cropped up even there,
the day I hoisted three instead of the
two called-for
spades of loam onto
the coffin of my friend.

Why shovel more than anybody else?
What did I think I’d prove? More love
(mud in her eye)? More will to work
(her father what, a shirker?) Christ,
I’d give an arm or leg
to get that spoonful back.

She cannot die again;
and I do nothing but relive.

this is the life :: heather mchugh

His watch is wicked, going on
without him. Pass your hand
across the blue man’s lips and
Q.E.D. We know we breathe

(and quite without our help) but then
we know we know, and so forget.
It’s strange to be alive but we
have not felt awe since we were someone’s

kid, and that was once
upon a time. In time we taught ourselves
to find the world mundane, and all
the unknown unsurprising, like

next Sunday, for example.
God himself gets bored, God knows.

On holidays we like to make
some sugar on a rope, some fallout

in the form of rocks,
the Science City someone gave

to Junior, Christmas Day. And you can etch
your name in the petri dish with pure

bacteria, or in the virgin snow with piss.
We draw lines at skin, for different,
at heart for dead; the EEG goes on all by itself. We used
to sing, and when we did, we sensed

the air itself was lively; then we fell
back into dream, we froze. And all night long
in the drawing room, after the household’s asleep,
the crystal grows.