A.J. Huffman has published thirteen full-length poetry collections, fourteen solo poetry chapbooks and one joint poetry chapbook through various small presses. Her most recent releases, Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink), A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press), and Familiar Illusions (Flutter Press) are now available from their respective publishers. She is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2500 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, The Bookends Review, Bone Orchard, Corvus Review, EgoPHobia, and Kritya. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press. www.kindofahurricanepress.com.
after Abandoned Dwellings by artist Vladamir Kush
Memories of desiccated corpses, dehydrated bodies,
shriveled and stolen, some by time, some by inquisitive hand,
haunt the now hollowed walls of this shell, this once sanctified reliquary.
Honored temple for the dead, embedded in the sand, remains
a stoic symbol of fleeting power. Coveted by lesser beings that only pass
outside its shadow, touch its cold surface, its somber grace stands
unnoticed. Ruined walls echo a skeletal weakness, an almost rushing
need to be filled that will go unanswered even as eternity continues
to consume its floors.
What Time Is It
when silence learns to speak
in unshadowed corners of rooms
that have never seen clocks?
It is the backward dance of bullets
that fall below the radar of Broadway
and the nonsensical triviality
designed to make words harmonic.
It is the harsher echo of true
meaning bellowing above the oral subterfuge
of what is considered acceptable.
It is a crack, intentionally stepped on,
the hesitational horror hanging
a mirror on a broken nail,
the breath held too long, released
too loudly out of fear of something
that was never really there.
Fish Watch Me
from shallow tide pools
as I walk early morning sands.
These half-shadowed pre-dawn pools
ripple as I pass, and I wonder
if their fins feel the depth of my desire
to escape. Blank eyes refuse to blink
in acquiescence to such thoughts. I move
forward but do not look back. I am sure
if my pace hastened toward the water
they would follow me into welcome oblivion.
He Carried Her
like a mirror, all folded
and secured in his pocket.
In his hand, she sparkled temporarily,
forgetting the dangers of following,
of going along for an undetermined ride.
Too late, she landed in a pile of yesterday’s
dirt, permanently closed, and more
than slightly cracked.