Grandpa told us that people used to draw the country
on paper. He told me once that men buried treasure
and drew the way to it. He said these things
with his eyes always on the door. He never looked
at me unless I spilled something. Then his lips
narrowed into a horizon and his eyes trembled
toward me. He’d turn back to his books
with their sleepwords. Some nights he’d speak,
sudden as a knock at the door, in the voice
of a candle wick, and tell us questions
to our answers. The only times I ever saw him
smile was when he spoke in cartography.
One night he lost himself, entered
the paper he trembled but would never let us see,
and told us to find him at X.
Adam Hughes is the author of four full-length poetry collections, most recently Allow the Stars to Catch Me When I Rise (Salmon Poetry, 2017) and Deep Cries Out to Deep (Aldrich Press, 2017). Born and raised in Central Ohio, he now resides in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains where he is pursuing an MFA at Randolph College. Should you google him, he is not the Adam Hughes who draws near-pornographic depictions of female superheroes. This particular Adam Hughes cannot draw.