Two Poems | Aria Hughes-Liebling | Granta

Two Poems

Aria Hughes-Liebling

A Shit-Heel, the Spill of a Lawn


A clotted bull
breaks from its yoke.
Is bent backward.
A son retrieves oxen
from nearby rotary cement.
Traces the low tufts using bitter slobber.
He is sedate – has already been brutalized.
A small name –
like Madison. Perches on him.
A stocky language
used to flesh glass.
The tallest crags
in a buffaloed hap-luck.
Of hounds left,
but smuggling –
strewning, but silt in cloth.
Stony and fabled in fat –
some yellowing hour,
supped until threadbare.
The boy, foraging for ossein,
loosens the folded climate.
Asks to sit on better soil.
About grapes and a flower’s
period of gestation.
If he needs clothing.
I get drunk instead – lured
into similar months
by scorched grapes.
Nearly a coast itself,
the pool was mulched by wins.
Draped only to be draped –
a no-use. A willful shot –
the bird that sat there, declined
at its step
and resembled an earning.
A coup as fixture,
versus a dish
given – veined
by sure hands.
An army lost by staying
at its tail – to apply
my face, to remove it,
to clean it. Nearly
wash my back and chest.
Believing I had
stacked shoes,
the paper – the day becomes
productive. Arcs orange.
Is unhappy to raid a hoofed and damp dirt.
What pilled from necks
was mostly caterpillar.
And like costume,
my news is spoken safely.
How the man that needed killing,
was only beaten. His chatter
etched into haired blubber.
A strange plug –
as if thorn-held. Mollycoddled
by a gut’s metal. The wall too. The bowl too.
He is newly armed, legged –
a wooded paste.
Languid despite the stench.
The pieced panting of neighboring halls.
Great, large – amorous, grey women. Seated together.
A relief fire is quilted and praise is wood marked.
Drunks are forced to leave at gunpoint –
some orderliness.
The Atlantic
and the Gulf. More dens.
More benched-enamel.
I wander south, then east –
to scoop dirt, to agree
to leave shoes on.
He is titled
after a left-handed corner –
the house’s thuddy
muscle. Asleep
in dirt dry blankets.
My back is quiet – lenient
to what will be freckled skin.
Our hoarding and bellowing
kept to rooms. A hunk
of lead-footed water,
crumbling into skirmishes
and lanky in salt. Some
bitterroot’s swarm –
goated and swollen before
knuckling more territory.
The land becomes
self-flogging –
is a stock-still for nightfall.





Familiar Disease, Land, a Wife


As I had hoped, I was born on a Tuesday.
A peal predicted a siphoned year –
no hair, no limbs,
only the underneaths
to an animal’s knee
stood bawking.
I stood there too.
Forfeited my teeth as though
forfeiting teeth
could trace round my neck
a protective furrow. Some
two fingers numbed
my pinched elbow.
Lines are specific, more
than predictive – my elbow
to hand, the tangled direction
seemed corrective.
I watched a bent man
sit to dry and molt leaves after the abrupt peal,
but it was pig iron
that eventually warmed his mouth.
The older women,
they set their palms square into scut –
lost outright
a sort of
game-mostly or nestle.
The stale sills struggled
with a roof’s fruit,
is a home
with speed and birds,
ashen and perpetual.
Was a cast
moving in blades
and the assembled pounds,
like my smartest nights,
were unclear.
Were roped
into old sayings,
where bushels and rigs
crushed each other –
were now made in unison,
into lesson deadness.
1918 brought the flu.
An eggy absolution
kept like homespun fruit, a sheriff
longing to join forward on knees.
Whatever was worn as parasitic earrings.
A watchful eye, pitched up –
a boring killer,
a great blonde. A peacetime tick.
A reminder
of how I chose to leave the room:
hat, coat and gun.
Still, I can’t tell my gut bag
from my head bag.
Peeled grapes in either bag –
nearly Oct.
In that time,
no single hill
was wounded enough
to profess a height.
We made wagers. Went to fish.
Lined our gums in loam
and murmured about
a spade digging at noon.
Last night, as I slept,
I almost understood
the size
of how you looked.
Counted you
by tundra or line.
15 or 16, maybe 20.
And woke up –
like gross stone.
Around 2ish, I hid soaps.
Gripping them like shipworms,
I couldn’t differentiate the two.
Couldn’t cross the street.
I wandered, waded husband-like.
A pupil too long – was striped.
To be given as an offer
of currency
for what’s only glass.
like buying a home,
gave chance for foodish hay
to retain a startle around my mouth.
Our room’s basin was insincere.
And my skin worked like simple paper.
Skin that was now seeped
and separated into starched cinder.
Next to me, our doorframe stood
well-oiled, good-looking,
showing off.
I plummed its eye out,
and lopped it onto myself –
a fluke though,
when my shouldered accent
became beak-spread.
When the remaining birds
elbowed our homes – became guests.
And honeymooned onto them.
That late year was,
only in days – or
possibly just in bad memory.
Still –
the good ground quivers.



Photograph © vphill

Aria Hughes-Liebling

Aria Hughes-Liebling was born in 1994 in Chicago, IL.

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