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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Section 2. I Am (not) You

Luther Hughes

How We Forget

after loyce gayo

how we forget 	after loyce gayo  ¬¬¬i forgot i had skin		forgot what happens to bones when they are covered  	in sin		and bed sheets		i forgot about the bed sheets forgot the nights he buried my name with his fists	forgot i had fists too	 		forgot i had a tongue	and lips and mouth to scream 	i have forgotten  how to scream		forgotten how to pray		didn’t forget i was his prey	 	i have forgotten to feel ashamed	forgot what i looked like in the mirror forgot that my eyes matched my skin	if only i remembered my skin     i forgot to blink	 		to breathe in between the minutes	forgot i had lungs to inhale forgot how to inhale	didn’t forget i had holes		didn’t forget humans 	are made of holes		forgot we all end up in holes	 	forgot that sons and fathers aren’t meant to grow old	forgot father 		forgot his name so i called him father	forgot i prayed for fathers 	 	forgot i was a son 		that sons will kill themselves just to see their fathers 		forgot a son killed himself to see me go farther		 did i mention my skin	 black now		now covered in shadows	if only shadows mimicked healing 	if only healing came at sunrise		forgot what it meant to rise	forgot the meaning	of walking away		forgot meaning			forgot brown 	forgot how my skin browns with the right words		forgot the right words i forgot my skin is a layer of words	still no skin though	still no memory of what skin  	looks like wrapped in soil	forgot skin soils	forgot the brown	 forgot the movement				forgot how to move when men bend	 i forgot myself			didn’t forget him though	forgot how to hem though 		forgot what happens to men when self grows		forgot how to self grow 			i forgot my fingers	i forgot the language of sorry 	and stop		and no		and don’t 		and please i forgot how to say please	forgot where i go when i die			is it heaven 	or my backyard			forgot that brown fades after awhile	forgot  humans fade too	that sometimes we are left to wear the words of others to keep from  	committing suicide		i forgot how to commit suicide		is it before or after the bed sheets				should i wait before or after the end
Luther Hughes was born in Seattle, Washington, but currently lives in Chicago where he is pursuing his B.A. in poetry at Columbia College Chicago. Luther’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Modern Poetry Quarterly Review, Four Chambers Press, Curator Magazine, Chelsea Station Magazine, Good Men Project and Toe Good Poetry. He curates, “Shade,” a literary blog for queer writers of color, which can be found on He thinks you are beautiful.


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