The left-over turkey is lodged a thousand miles

from here in the refrigerator of the house that my

son and his girlfriend bought back in June, to the

delight of both sets of parents, anticipating as we did

that something momentous would soon follow,

like an engagement or a wedding.

But we are boomers, that odd generation spawned

when the appearance of global peace beguiled our

parents into reproducing in record numbers; rather

like rabbits, some might say, as though a house full

of kids could stabilize the psychic careen wrought by

Part Two of the World War.

We grew up on a thick stew of things they didn’t have;

straight teeth and television, finished basements, electric

dryers, air conditioning, telephones with extension cords,

second cars and possibility, and yet there was so much

of the hows and whys of their lives that we didn’t want

them to pass along to us.

We took on neighborliness, but not the concern for what

they thought of us or the worry over who they were. We

honored faith, but church was not our axis, and the

sanctity of place was lost on us as we moved far enough to

keep their traditions from influencing our creation of what

we thought were better ways.

Little did we know that in teaching our children to think

like us we also taught them distance and difference, and they

choose not to marry like us or settle like us, or hold their ends

of the cord like us, the one that goes all the way back to Eden

and runs us all through, and God knows, I have prayed that

their rebellion would be a tighter grip.

I didn’t call my Father on Thanksgiving. Perhaps it’s not too late.

© Dana Hughes 11.29.16

The Day After

The morning after the election when my lungs refused

to inflate,


I saw that I was phosphorescing like a jellyfish, a pulsing

blob of white in a sea of diffuse uncertainty in which

the slenderest slivers of light above the seething calm

were inked out as thousands expelled jets of black

and brown to cloak their shape and confuse the

hunter enticed to these waters by the need to

feed on disparity, to seize and devour even

the shadows to which the tremulous flee

and pray for protection that might not

come in time if it comes at all.


Within the murk now thick with dread, the murmuration

of innocents becomes a mass for the dead, a lament

weary of sundered assurances and hope’s demise,

and well below where worm-scarred timbers lie

amid bones of other others lost or tossed to the

deep and long since adapted to the lack of air,

wide dark eyes mark the flailing above and

unhinged jaws form a soundless sigh of

empathy ascending, for they know

the price of difference will

always be paid.

© Dana Hughes 11.24.16

November 8, 2016

There are two kinds of people in the world:

there are those who believe they are right,

and those who believe the one’s who think

they’re right are wrong, and through years

by the thousand, nothing much has changed.


Of course the details are shaped by context,

whittled into rabbits that want chasing, or

duck calls meant to bring prey into range, or

gods that fit into pockets where fingers can

find and rub them ‘til they shine.


The denominator has always been difference;

the unlikeness of brothers or the order of

birth, the pigment of skin or the iris of eyes,

the shape of the head or the color of hair,

the height attained and noses beaked or wide,


these are the unlikenesses that divide us into

us and them; the rationale imposed at a glance

that keep us wary and apart, unwilling to share

the well, the temple, or the harvest and we are

rich with judgment that we toss like loose coins


to beggars, knowing there is more from whence

that came with plenty to spare and it costs us

nothing to fling it at those who have none, and

the have-nots gather not wealth but the pathogen

of fear, and a new generation is seeded with hate.


We could blame the Almighty for all of this, for

his interest in Abel over Cain, but that evokes a

worrisome faith that the Lord hasn’t finished with

favorites and may yet mark lines we thought

were drawn at our heels and not our toes.


No matter the outcome of choice and elections,

our history will always bear witness to how much

the us-ness of us is salved by keeping the them-ness

of them at a distance, praying that our differences

are clear and we are the ones who are right.


© Dana Hughes 11.8.16