Elevated

written by Heather McHugh

Elevated

— Heather McHugh

Fifty years the butcher shop
has hung these animals on hooks
to cure. The stationery store
dispenses the same old news,
same change, a little less silver;
ladies in a beauty shop desire
the perfect permanent.
Mornings this bright
cast the deepest shade;
everything seems to come
from memory. The subway’s elevated.

Down the block toward the river Bronx
each yard has a chain-link fence, a dog
attracted to the random noise.
The woman no one knows is dead is still
in the chair by the bedroom plant.
Stripes advance from the blind
to her lap, slower than the human
eye can see. Above the accidents
of traffic you can hear
her clock and clean refrigerator hum.

About the poet


Heather McHugh

Heather McHugh is an American poet Life Poet, translator, and educator, was born in San Diego, California, to Canadian parents, John Laurence, a marine biologist, and Eileen Francesca (Smallwood). They raised McHugh in Gloucester Point, Virginia. There, her father directed the marine biological laboratory on the York River. She began writing poetry at age five and claims to have become an expert “eavesdropper” by the age of twelve. At the age of seventeen, she entered Harvard University. Her most notable work was Hinge & Sign: Poems 1968-1993, which won the Bingham Poetry Prize of the Boston Book Review and the Pollack-Harvard Review Prize. The New York Times Book Review named this work the Notable Book of the Year. McHugh was...

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