two poems

by Amorak Huey

Aubade: The Candidate Announces Even now, wrapped in a flag of skewed perspective and implanted nostalgia, I cannot see beyond the corners and edges. Even now I am a small child walking into a room calling a name and hearing nothing in return. Even now I am hungry and unfed as sunlight leaks into a quiet house. Even now I crave. I stumble. I stammer through a speech I did not write, except for the parts I wrote, part impulse, part promise, part of the pattern. Even now the best pieces of us dwell beneath a blue suit of memories and lies: secrets we tell everyone. I have always struggled with transitions. It’s a matter of trust— look, every one of us has that scene with the gray snow piling up to cover the sled of all we thought we’d left behind. I’m saving the story of my mother’s death for a pivotal moment in the campaign and if this sounds cynical, then you understand how a body is built. How a body is a kind of nation.   Nocturne: The Candidate Arrives in Birmingham at Night Right now, so many people are having so many kinds of sex behind the opaque windows of these buildings along the highway. Probably mostly bad sex, that’s just the math, but who am I to judge. Sure, that’s how we’ve all survived so long—judge first, ask questions later—but it’s unseemly to say so. The governor here is in trouble, has to do with the lines between talk and touch, between want and have; mistakes were made, responsibility was taken, and so forth; nonetheless we’ve declined his offer to appear on my behalf—math again. What was promised, I’m asking here, does everything matter or none of it. We can’t all be above average. If you ask me, the campaign needs more quiet moments like this: a silence shaped like humming, the bus cresting a mountain or at least a pass sliced into a mountain— I need something from you, I’m just saying, I’m practicing saying. I have more questions, Birmingham, like why did you build a giant statue of the god of fire and what is he watching for and how does the god of fire have sex, behind which window, in which building. The city hunches below him, its lights like exclamation points or matchsticks. When I squint, like this, I almost believe what I once heard: we are made from the dust of expired stars. — Amorak Huey is author of Ha Ha Ha Thump (Sundress, 2015) and two forthcoming books: Seducing the Asparagus Queen (Cloudbank, 2018) and Boom Box (Sundress, 2019), as well as two chapbooks. A 2017 NEA fellow, he is co-author with W. Todd Kaneko of Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2018) and teaches at Grand Valley State University. Artwork by: Daniel Ignacio Daniel Ignacio is a digital artist from Toronto. He creates surreal landscapes and painterly environments. Daniel’s artistic style and themes are heavily influenced by science fiction, fantasy, minimalism, urbanism, and some aspects of the Impressionist style. Links Website: Twitter: @dkaism Instagram: @dkaism