Two Poems by Heather McHugh

BOMB 92 Summer 2005
092 Summer 2005 1024X1024

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A glance and a
cost a pretty penny
whatever you thought—

having come with a feeling
wrong or wrought
(twisting the hand to meet
the glove, getting niceness
comme il faut, in cases
low and high, italicked

to be striking, stroking—or of course
the better halves, the being fondled,
being struck, the two umbrella’d
or the cent cedilla’d,
holding out, and
held above.)

And now click yes. Be holden.
Take this ring, glue on these human
gloves. The training is
for good, for God’s

sake, and for love’s.


Dodo’s Caca

It too is fossilized;
In time it has become
As valuable as he.
(In time, that is, there is

No waste—or all is waste,
To put it more depressingly.
Ah well, that takes the onus off
The opus. Lulled or gulled or
Numbskulled, we

Need not be suffered fools if All
Is time’s tomfoolery.)


The dream is by the drainage pipe.
The cheek is by the jowl.
All flesh to the inquiring eye,
The scavenging scatologist

Gets the scoop from the shed.
But journalists (fair weather friends)
Have been there first: the shed is full
Of scoops befouled.


The present’s sent
From somewhere in
Advance. (If time has depth
You’ve got to dig eternity. One two!
One two!—we’re on our way!
Each boy abed, each girl aglee,
each nobody aloft agrees

to dream a time to come.
That’s when you’ll make
your meaning’s mark,
the day your nowadays
are done.) That’s what is meant

by presently. So shovel, little
shovelbird—how far off

could that be?

—Heather McHugh is the author of seven books of poetry, including National Book Award Finalist Hinge & Sign (1994) and most recently, Eyeshot (2003, both Wesleyan University Press). She teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson and at the University of Washington.

Originally published in

BOMB 92, Summer 2005

Featuring interviews Edward Dimendberg and Allan Sekula, Luc Tuymans and Kerry James Marshall, Nell McClister and Paul Chan, Sue de Beer and Nancy A. Barton, Heather McHugh, Susan Wheeler, Miranda July and Rachel Kushner, William Wegman and George Steel, Tony Conrad and Jay Sanders, and Carolyn Cantor. 

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