# 19 (66 words)

•March 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment

At first, and for quite some time, he kissed me- my eyelids, my cheeks, my neck, my forehead, my chin, my hair, my mouth- and those kisses were like the creak of a hammock, the whisper of bees, sunshine.

His kisses melted into my skin, softening my lips, becoming a part of me.

I cupped his face, looked into his eyes.

“This is the last time.”

© cahughes


#18 (218 words)

•July 6, 2011 • 1 Comment

Sabrina described herself as ugly.  She wasn’t ugly, but she wasn’t pretty either.  Still, there were times when she was busy not thinking about herself- like when she was lost in a good story or sautéing garlic or sleeping or feeding the fish- and the loss of her self-scrutiny relaxed the skin of her forehead, softened the surface of her eyes and made her lips fuller, let them be.  She would look quite pretty then.  It didn’t happen too often.  Just enough for me to know it was a possibility, and that is what I loved about her.

We sat out back at sunset.  A beetle crawled over her toes.  They looked like wine grapes and I liked them.  I reached down to remove the beetle and place it in the grass.

-Leave it, she said.  -I like how Gregor’s little legs feel walking on my toes.  She took a drag off her cigarette and stared at the sky that was orange and pink and purple.  She claimed to have tens of millions of sisters, all of whom were prettier than she was, but none of them could compare to her at that moment.

Sabrina, unthinking and painted the colors of paradise, a beetle making a home in her toes, so ugly she was a saint.

sabrina’s lover
c A Hughes (Copyright 2011)

#17 (420 words)

•May 26, 2011 • Leave a Comment

There was no moon so she couldn’t see him and she closed her eyes so they could adjust so she could see the shape of him.  He scooted in close, licking the lid of her eye.  -Why did you do that and he said he couldn’t see her and thought he was near her mouth.  She wasn’t upset and the feeling was interesting.  No one had ever licked her eye before. 

She said- I like where you were going with that.

She slept in late and alone except there was the dregs of coffee in the coffee pot.  And sticky spots on the kitchen counter around the coffee pot.  And crumbs stuck to the sticky spots and a few ants nibbling on those crumbs.  Only none of them were feeling very conversational.  

She was angry at him for the spots, the crumbs, the ants at the crumbs and not being there so she could tell him she was angry.  And she hated the ants eating the crumbs with their little antennae twitching these and those ways and how they flaunted their fellowship in front of her made her feel lonelier and angrier.

Instead, she took it out on the counter and those ants never had a chance.  If he had been there, he may’ve been scrubbed clean away with the rough side of the sponge.  Her legs quivered just as they had the night before.  Her stomach felt full of germans in pike formation, or a skiff riding a tsunami or curdled milk mixed with sardine smell or like being alone in an elevator.  The air felt awkward and tried to leave her.  Her heart was no longer beating beat by beat but just one long, smooth vibration like the seat of his motorcycle between her thighs when she was straddled behind him and he took her for rides around the lake and how they leaned together into curves and how she wanted nothing more than to put her arms in the air and scream at the top of her lungs- I am going to die!

There were no words she recognized.  A strange tongue.  She sobbed when she told him on the phone that she felt possessed or dispossessed.  She was not there anymore. 

-I was a bird.  Exotic and brightly colored with huge sick-yellow eyes cawing and cackling over my dead body.  Or I was a shooting star a million years gone, eternally hurtling.  Please come over.

And she sat up all night waiting.  Another with no moon.

(Copyright 2011)
the anxiety attack
c A Hughes


•December 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Lolly felt his thumbs on the flesh just below her breasts.  They were changing- her breasts, not his hands.  Once hard and knobby, they were now softening, becoming heavier, shapely.  At least he hadn’t said anything, as when she’d first began shaving her legs.

“Mmm, smooth,” he’d said, running his hand down her shin.  They’d laughed, but later that night, she’d rubbed her legs together and felt like a strnger to herself.  She didn’t know how her legs had felt before then, but now they were so soft.  They were strange legs.

She bent back at her waist before him, her arms swirling slowly like two pale snakes that had just shed their skin.  His hands tightened under her and his thumbs moved closer to the small undercurve of her breasts.  Blood rushed to her temples.  She thought of the orange and four crackers sitting in her stomach.  When she ate them she’d pretended they were a burger and fries.  Slowly she lifted her body towards him.  It all felt rough.

“Lolly, be here for goodness’ sake,” Ms. Elizabeth said.  “Let’s take a break.”

They all exited the stage.  Her partner said, “You feel tense, tight.  Are you okay?” 

“I don’t know.”

She hated herself so much.  Fourteen and getting soft in places she was supposed to be hard.  Her cheeks were irritated and bumpy.  And there was all that eye contact with her partner.  She felt confused when he looked at her, but hadn’t he been looking at her like that for two years?  She wasn’t sure; she couldn’t remember.  All she knew is that she kept dreaming about him, and thinking about him when she was supposed to be doing homework.

It began when she’d lifted her leg high and straight in her last performance.  She’d smiled out on the audience and noticed men and boys, even women and girls, were not looking at her face, but somewhere lower.  She realized with horror that they were looking at her legs and crotch, which were exposed.  Lolly asked Ms. Elizabeth why ballerina’s had to wear little tiny tutus?

“Because.  It is lovely.  A ballerina is a fairytale.  A ballerina is a piece of art.  Her legs are controlled, moving muscle and that is part of the art.  That’s why.”

It hadn’t felt that way.  It felt scary and a little exciting in a way she could not describe.  She felt anxious and afraid but hadn’t known why. Then there had been her partner’s hand, gently cupping her calf.  She later imagined that hand sliding up- under her knee, up her thigh, and she could picture no more.  She tried, but her mind wouldn’t allow the picture to form.

Ms. Elizabeth clapped her hands.  “Back to work children!”

a ballerina (469 words)
C A Hughes  (Copyright 2010)

#15 (401 words)

•April 28, 2010 • 1 Comment

Anne holds Alvarez, no longer bothered by the thick sweet blood pumping out through the wounds in his chest and stomach. At first she’d been surprised by its generous oozing. It wasn’t gushing like the movies, or very thin or shiny, but it was more than she’d ever witnessed.

She was afraid of the presence of blood, the amount of it, what may be living within it.

Now she cradles the sweaty head of Alvarez in one hand, his blood on her cheek, her hands, some in her hair. She uses her other hand to press her jacket to the slashes on his body. Calling for help, she forgets what she is doing and realizes she has relaxed the pressure. The jacket squelches as she pushes down again.

“Alvarez, stay with me,” she says when his eyelids begin to slide close. She jiggles her arm around to shake his face awake.


He tries to focus on her. He is mumbling something to her. A prayer maybe? Prayer is all they’ve got left it seems. How long has she been screaming for assistance? Feels like hours. It’s probably been closer to fifteen minutes. She closes her eyes and tries the lord’s prayer but doesn’t finish. She is seeing over and over the murder of Alvarez.

Anne was hailing a cab when three boys, or were they men? No. Grown men wouldn’t do such a thing. But boys wouldn’t either. No one would do a thing like this. Only these three did. Three people came out of the shadows. Maybe they weren’t human? And attacked this man. They hit him over the head with a stick? A bat? And when Alvarez fell, they did not stop.

The filth from their mouths, Anne thinks, rocking Alvarez in her arms. No one is going to help them.

At first, Anne had feared the lone man, standing against a building a few hundred feet ahead. She saw his brown skin, his work clothes. But it was those three with skin that held the moonlight, hands with weapons that gleamed in the same manner. Looking clean but squalor within. If Alvarez hadn’t been there, she would’ve been the one bleeding here. Dying.

She realizes she has again lessened the weight against the bleeding. She panics as she puts all her strength against him. She wants to thank him but he’s dead.

Anne holds Alvarez and cries.

holding alvarez  (Copyright 2010)

#14 (471 words)

•September 26, 2009 • 1 Comment

Sir come, say: You mine, woman.

And he mark my back. He mark my seat. Say he gonna set me free only now ain’t the time. We got to wait. He come to my door though every day. Half of me hate when he turn up because we act like now the time when it ain’t. The other half joyful because just a slim sight of that time is better than sitting on my hands dying and waiting.

My people don’t like what we doing. Some of them say he ain’t never gonna set me free. “Why he do that when he own you? Why he gone to give away his property?” I think on this and it be a strong chance he go back on his word and I don’t know what stirs me up more- him not setting me free or him setting me free.

Others say he ain’t the one to set me free. Say, “Only you can set you free.” Or “Only the Almighty can set you free.” I wonder do I even want to be free. What would I do without him? Do I gots the power to do it for my own self? Times I think yes. Times I think no. And God don’t care for the bodies of folks. He deal in freeing the mind. The spirit. That means I could still die under this man. And if life is a toil such as it is and folks is living and dying according to life’s toil then how can a mind ever be truly free?

He say he love my skin. My body. My heart. I believe him some. He taking big chances coming to me. He kiss me and touch me. Not just take like some of his people do. Besides how can he take what I freely give?

He gentle to me. I love his skin next to me. When he come to my door, he ask can he come in. I never say no though I feel in my heart I should. But when I see him there and see his hands and his legs and his eyes my thighs catch afire. I love his weight on me. I look down at our legs tangled together like a nest of snakes and watch them move and fight and I feel like we One. He disappears inside me and becomes me.

When we apart I weep. I think his name over and over for comfort instead of calling on the name of the Lord. Oo it feel wrong and right all together. I fights inside me. The half that wish he never would come to my door again and the half that live and breathe him and it make me so tired all over.  Which half gonna win?

Either way I lose.

her existing  (Copyright 2009)

#13 (319 words)

•March 16, 2009 • 2 Comments

She lacks teeth and fullness. Her skin creased like yellowed linen but I began to love those hiding places, pockets of seventy year old sunlight, tears, evidence she smiled, slept, worked, grieved. She lacks fullness, but she is living and a real thing. Hair mostly sandy but those brilliant bouquets of silver. Queenly crown, angelic halo. She does not know how pure she is, purified by the fire of loneliness, constraint, being locked up. Broken into. Broken, put together. Broken. Put together again.


She gives me her sadness. She shows me her tears, talks about how diamonds are formed. Gives her humiliation to me. I love her for these gifts, so freely gives her memories to me. And when I leave her, the greatness of those wet eyes, their leaking sinks into the lines of her skin, her memories I take with me, go out to the car, masturbate.

How stunning she is, and her stout hands that have worked in dirt, fixed pipes. Wrung themselves translucent, rough, over young boys, her boys, her men. Always warm. Made of birch bark. Smelling of moist clean soil turned, open, waiting for seeds, pushed deep, watered, bloody red petals. She is virtuous. I desire her virtuousness. Not her frail body or its warmth but those secret places that are black and sucking. More secret, black, sacred than her physical body which is dying as mine is dying. Like we all are dying.

I sit next to her under the sun, wings of birds, the shadow of God. Feast on her dark secrets. Violations. Despair. I live here at her mouth, hover close. Her voice is low holy magic. Finger the back of her neck. I quiver at her crying eyes looking up at mine that have teeth, tongue, are ravenous.

I will kill me, she says.

How? My heart licks its lips.

Cord of the blinds in my room.

lovelike  (Copyright 2009)