He has hiked enough trails to know
even the firmest terrain gives way
sometimes. Sometimes, the ground,
hard as bones, shifts quietly
like an old bear in its sleep.
So when a woman half his age
runs her fingers along his arm
or tickles his beard with a kiss,
something gives way inside him.
He remembers being a boy, wandering
in the woods behind his grandparents’ house.
At sunset he discovered a cave.
He knelt in the damp soil
at the cavern’s mouth and kept shouting,
never recognizing his own voice
calling back faintly from the dark.
Sara Hughes earned a PhD in English from Georgia State University in 2014. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, the 2015 Best of the Net Anthology, and the 2015 Independent Best American Poetry award. She has published in dozens of journals, including Rattle, Reed, Rosebud, TAB, Atlanta Review, Southern Women’s Review, Review Americana, The Oklahoma Review, and Atticus Review, among others. Sara has also received writing fellowships from I-Park Foundation and The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts & Sciences. She teaches literature and writing at Middle Georgia State University in Macon, Georgia.