The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®

 

Kim Bridgford

Nick Hughes

 

who died by hanging

 

By then, you thought your best was second rate:

Because it’s always all of it:  the headstones

Chipped to take off “Hughes.”  It was your birthright.

You had to start with both your parents’ lines.

 

A scientist, a child who moved away,

You were more Otto Plath than Sylvia,

More Ted.  Yet all of them were there.  Your lie

Was that it was just you, in Alaska,

Good at what you did, but not a god.

 

Sometimes ordinariness is not enough.

If you were to make a list of what you did,

It would be small, and sometimes people, off

The grid, refuse the grind of daily plod.

You knew, of course, you could not be yourself.

 

 

Kim Bridgford

Potboiler

 

Remember that they weren’t enough at first.

Remember that it took the literati.

Remember that the myth rewrote the worst.

 

Wife sends out her husband’s manuscripts?  Pierced

By gender, the word is anonymity.

Remember that they weren’t enough.  At first,

 

It was the script, although those lines were cursed.

You had to be in love, there at the party.

Remember that the myth rewrote the worst:

 

Assia-style.   They never were divorced:

She the Smith professor- secretary.

Remember that they weren’t enough at first.

 

The Bell Jar was their ticket, money nursed.

Sylvia was Philomena Guinea.

Remember that the myth rewrote the worst.

 

In ironies of life they were well versed.

Her potboiler the legacy and money.

Remember that they weren’t enough at first.

Remember that the myth rewrote the worst.

 

 

 

KIM BRIDGFORD is the director of Poetry by the Sea and the editor of Mezzo Cammin. The author of ten books, she is the recipient of grants from the NEA, the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and the Ucross Foundation. With Russell Goings, she rang the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange, in honor of his book The Children of Children Keep Coming, for which she wrote the introduction. Bridgford has been called "America's First Lady of Form."

 

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