• Best of the Net 2023 Nominations

    Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY is delighted to announce the following poems have been nominated for inclusion in 2024’s Best of the Net anthology: Flight Path by Laura RodleyThe Sonnet by Ed HackRailway Station, Bendery, Moldova by Tovli SimiryanBaptism by Greg WatsonMaking Up by Larina WarnockAll the best stories are true by Julia Klatt Singer —read more—

Saturday book feature — Music from a Farther Room — John Calvin Hughes

A Thousand Million Degrees

Where is the summer, the unimaginable
Zero summer?

Mosquitoes flame-burst like fleurs
on my sizzling Baudelaire-fried arms.
Air white heat, sky stonewashed,
if the wash stone is a thousand
million nuclear bombs tumbling
in a steamingly crowded laundrymat.
Photons float down, petals
of the most elemental of relations,
their weight palpable, enduring,
burning. Like a barn. Like a patricide.

No relief, none for the cricket
nor me, none for the pads of the feet
of the dogs in their days on the sidewalks
of America, their fierce mouths shaking
tongue sweat in every fevered direction but
up, up at the sun, the blistering corona
of such sun as only summer sings.

Look at the mimosa wilting in the far
yard, its sagging shoulders, its parched
pin fingers pointing down, at scalded
earth, shimmering like a campfire,
rippling heat like drape folds, grassless,
without grass, again no grass below
that might shelter, let’s say, the cricket.
Even the mole-cricket, no friend of grass either.

Hot wind less howl than whimper
sears the eyelashes off birds dropping
from blasted limbs of dead oaks, onto
blasted yards of blasted houses, roofs
smoking, brilliant panes of blinding glass.

The bricks of the houses now kiln
hot, baking the inhabitants and their
cakes too. Still air, thick with lassitude,
quavering like thunder in the seconds
after sterile booming, empty banging
of electrons in dry cloud, empty cloud.
No movement, every chair full, every
face slick, eyes slack, lips split,
parted only to say, Ganga was sunken.

by John Calvin Hughes from Music from a Farther Room (Aldrich Press, 2016)

Cover art: Joann Renner

buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Music-Farther-Room-Calvin-Hughes/dp/0692665404/


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