Alex Hughes

A Seminary Education

 

The most interesting thing I’ve learned while

at seminary was not taught to me in a class, but

something I observed gradually around campus:

 

amid this gluten-free fitness-freak city it seems I’ve

stumbled upon some holy place for women who are obese—

everywhere I turn there’s a thigh as wide as my waist

 

gyrating against its mirror, and I can hear seams

screaming, clinging like lovers being dragged apart—

I cringe, and cannot help but wonder why, what it is

 

about the religious life that beckons to them.

Of course in my heart of hearts I wonder if

I’m being an ass, if just having this thought is

 

offensive—but if I can’t even ask, if I can’t

wonder aloud in my own head, what’s the deal

with all these fatties? then I’ll have sacrificed

 

truth, or the pursuit of truth, nailed it to some

crucifix in favor of a world where young girls

can eat through their sorrow, can gorge with

 

sticky fingers upon words that whisper: doesn’t

this feel good? who needs beauty when you have

the grease of misery? If I can’t ask what all these

 

bowling balls are doing here, can’t wonder how their

wobbly pins don’t snap in half, then the world will

keep spinning and young women will keep turning

 

to Jesus, for he’s the only one to dry their tears

after a binge when the night is empty, the only one to

make them feel loved, the only one to look upon

 

all these obese women on campus who have, at long last,

given up hope, and told them it will be alright—

if I can’t even ask, then nothing will ever change.

 

 

Lost & Found

 

Or at least that’s what the sign says.

I watch the severed hand

scuttling and rummaging through

diamond rings and key chains and

Kodak cameras, through sunglasses

and eyeglasses and pocket-sized maps,

through coffee cups and baseball caps

and phones too stupid to find their way home.

 

The sleepy-looking boy had looked at me

in mild disbelief when I told him I lost

my soul in room 3-3-0—it must have

slipped between the covers when

I wasn’t looking and hid, listening,

or else it dove into the crack

between bed and wall—I don’t know

why it left me but I know I want it back.

 

And now it could be anywhere,

anywhere except here in the blue

bin at the concierge.

 

 

Alex Hughes

Alex Andrew Hughes lives and works in Los Angeles. He splits his time between his training in clinical psychology, his research in existential crises, and his fiction, poetry, and sketching. Sometimes, however, he does absolutely nothing, and he enjoys that time the most. His poetry has recently appeared in Thin Air, New Plains Review, Firewords Quarterly, and elsewhere.

 

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