sporklet 13
Luther Hughes


Giovanni Melton, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2017


This is the best time to say it is misleading

to sing in the presence of Death. If you do not

agree, don’t. This much is certain: a father shoots

his son for being gay. Silence, or whatever it calls itself

after a bullet passes through the first layer of husk,

must have stepped into the scene like a musical rest.

Then the scene was just a scene.


It is late. I am in bed. My bedside lamp projects

its numbing. A calmness about the open door

and I forget what defines me. The darkness, as it sniggers,

says to be still. In the morning, there is nothing but.



Luther Hughes, born and raised Seattle, is the author of A Shiver in the Leaves (BOA Editions, 2022) and the chapbook Touched (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2018). Founder of Shade Literary Arts, and Executive Editor for the The Offing, he co-hosts The Poet Salon podcast with Gabrielle Bates and Dujie Tahat. His work has been published in Poetry, Paris Review, The Rumpus, New England Review, and others. He is the recipient of the 2020 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize. Luther received his MFA from Washington University in St. Louis.