Monday Jul 13

Huey-Poetry.jpb Amorak Huey, a former newspaper editor and reporter, teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. His poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry 2012, The Cincinnati Review, Caketrain, Rattle, RHINO, The Southern Review, Linebreak, and other journals. Follow him on Twitter: @amorak.


Last name, title, expiration date,
what goes sour, what survives:

we sort and clarify. Nothing avoids scrutiny,
her lasting knack for making us feel

untouchable. We smother furniture
in plastic. We come in out of the snow

expecting tenderness. We stockpile
all manner of miracles: cardinals

in winter, sun-catchers on sliding glass.
We lose track of how long

since we curled still and new and listened
to her heart keeping time –

it was the only sound in the world
and then it was not.


Self-Portrait as Blues Harmonica


These things we leave behind, these promises
we make but do not mean – how long

have we lived in this part of the world?
Rivers spill from banks, levees cannot hold.

The wind carries its lonely sound from oak to birch,
no instrument comes nearer to the pain

of human voice – to name a thing
is to transcend it, to render it harmless.

You want this to sort itself out,
to fold into narrative – we all expect

beginning, middle, end, moral to story,
we want hero, villain, true love

or something that pretends to be,
at least for tonight, my darling,

nothing exists outside our own skin
& the dangerous equilibrium

between root that thrums below
& limb that tears free

when this electric sky splits open.


Life Story


Born into a musical family.
Grew up under a rose tree.
Developed allergies.
Attended a number of fine schools.
Fought in one of the wars.
Designed the winter museum.
Avoided surprise. Dressed well.
Lacked political motivation.
Married once, loved much.
Threatened by habitat loss.
Chose wisely. Acquired taste.
Traveled often by rail.
Grew ill with tuberculosis.
We want what we want –
an easy path, a sunlit field.