Something Hominal

Poetry / Luther Hughes

inside the womb, everything is black & animalistic. everything a fist thrusting me forward.

remove me, i remember thinking, take me now seattle.
but not too fast.

an incision is made along the abdominal wall. a cut across the uterus.
light leans into me like a thumbprint. i’m clenched at the rib. removed tenderly—

does the doctor know of my grandfather?
how osteoarthritis took. where the monster rives first.

i’m young & know death.

i’m young & already fiending for the body: how it conceals. how it grants human connection: call it hereditary: a veering hand: infection—

                    to be clear: i’m black. i’m a boy with diseased lineage;
                    the sapling of rotted trees. wilt. wilt—

i feathered inside the doctor’s palms. my flesh, paled copper, swallowed by the boneish hem of the room. i hear many questions: is he breathing? is he alive?

is this a black boy’s life?

i don’t know much about my body. what crevices. what merits entry inside.

i command the doctor with the howl of my mouth: how his fingers ferry this body. from his hands, my father is beastly. looms over; shadow oblong; darkness; i've been crying

& wanting another man’s touch
but i’m given to my mother; what of my body? it inherits. it fails to communicate. it spends its innards: oxygen for blood. blood for pleasure.

i’m not asking for answers. i want to be taught:

who touches me, seattle?
what fills this body once i leave these hospital walls?

Luther Hughes is a Seattle native, but currently lives in Chicago where he is pursuing his B.A. in poetry at Columbia College Chicago. He currently curates, Shade, a literary blog for queer writers of color. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Luther’s works have been published or are forthcoming in Muzzle, Winter Tangerine, Vinyl, Word Riot, and others. He spends most of his nights eating cookies in his underwear. He thinks you are beautiful.