Heather McHugh

(20 August 1948 / San Diego, California)

Amenities


I owe you an explanation.
My first memory isn’t your own
of an empty box. My babyhood cabinets held
a countlessness of cakes, my backyard
rotted into apple glut, windfalls of
money-tree, mouthfuls of fib.

At puberty I liked the locks,
I was the one who made them fast.
The yelling in our hallways was about
lost money, or lost love, but not
lost life. Or so I see it now:
in those days I romanticized
a risk (I thought I’d die
in the alcoholic automobile, die
at the hands of nerveless dentistry). Small hearts
were printed in the checkbook; when my parents called me
dear, they meant expensive.

Where were you in all that time? Out looking for
your father’s body? Making for your mother’s room?
I got my A’s in English, civics,
sweetness and light; you got black eyes, and F’s,
and nowhere fast. By 1967 when we met
(if you could call it making an acquaintance,
rape) I was a mal-adjusted gush, a sucker for
placebos. Walking home from Central Square, I came to have
the good girl’s petty dread: the woman

to whose yard you dragged me might
detect us, and be furious. More than anything else
I wanted no one mad at me. (Propriety,
or was it property, I thought
to guard: myself I gave away.)

And as for you, you had the shakes,
were barely seventeen yourself, too raw
to get it up (I said don’t be afraid,
afraid of what might happen if you failed).
And afterwards, in one of those moments
it’s hard to tell (funny from fatal) you did
a terrible civility: you told me

thanks. I’ll never forget
that moment all my life.
It wasn’t until then, as you
were sheathing it to run,

I saw the knife.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Form:


Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Amenities by Heather McHugh )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  4. If, Rudyard Kipling
  5. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  6. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  7. The Highwayman, Alfred Noyes
  8. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  9. As I Grew Older, Langston Hughes
  10. 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane

Poem of the Day

poet William Wordsworth

Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray:
And, when I crossed the wild,
I chanced to see at break of day
The solitary child.

No mate, no comrade Lucy knew;
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. Communist Goons, Bijay Kant Dubey
  2. Trinmul Congress Party's Gift Is The Fre.., Bijay Kant Dubey
  3. Dark Chapter, Abdullah alHemaidy
  4. The Sun Sings in You, Patti Masterman
  5. Desolate Fox, Prasad Natarajan
  6. Real Poverty, Abdullah alHemaidy
  7. A Dream In My Soul, Spiritwind Wood
  8. Peace, Leonard Champlin
  9. A Spirit Forever Free, Spiritwind Wood
  10. Mamas Counsel, Adeosun Olamide
[Hata Bildir]