Coleman Hough's poetry has appeared in such journals as Southern Poetry Review, The Louisville Review, and The Asheville Review. She is a playwright and performance artist, and is currently performing a series of monologues in New York City. Excerpts from her monologue THE UGLY SISTER appear in the winter issue of La Petite Zine. Three times a fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, she has taught writing and performance at Lehman College, Emerson College, Emma Willard School, and she was a teaching artist in the Metropolitan Opera Guild's "Creating Original Opera" Program. She had a brief career as a dating expert and her dating advice still appears on the website,

Four Poems by Coleman Hough

The Hunt

Until dusk we waited, until shadows
lengthened, tricked us into believing
it was time to go, time to head back along
the red dirt road.  But I whispered, wait.
Remember that?  I whispered a whole story
the one about Druscilla, the little girl
who falls in love with a deer named Druid
rides on his back with all her bags packed,
hopes high for life in the forest forever
and then you said, shhhh—over there, be still
look. be still. and there was Druid, he had come
and I was breathless, palms sweating, giddy
stop wiggling you said stop or you'll scare him off
but to scare him would have been familiar
that part of the story when Druid gets scared
once Druscilla falls in love with him
puts her hand to her heart, blinks back tears
but you were quiet, we were quiet
that early evening late in January
until the moment I asked you if
you were going to shoot him, no, you said
no, and I said, hand me the rifle
I did and you did without questions
you passed me the weight and the fire and the world
aim for the shoulder, you told me—a breath
in my ear as if I were a boy
one of yours not yet a murderer.


As if they were an indication
my father
watches birds
knows them by silhouette
hook of beak
square of tail
names them
at a role call pitch
by color
by rank
black oystercatcher
yellow rumped warbler
common loon.

And they
watch him
know him by his yearning
barn swallow
mourning dove
random as thoughts
they flit across his kingdom
call out to him

A Drowning at Sea

Here's how I tell it before swallowing
hard, before remembering it was you
in an ocean swimming out towards a sandbar
you with your lover without clouds in a sky
of perfect blue you said and he had even
said today is the perfect day before
the water rose up around you, took him
from you in the middle of his saying that
in the middle of you showing him how
to tread water, wear the shape of currents
like skin, woven like the hands of lovers
not reaching a sandbar, never meaning
to really, or the shore, or next Sunday
but something further out, past rescue
past breath.

What I loved about you

your face
the way you counted money
kissed me
tried on jackets
that time
you saved a baby
from fever
told me
you were not a cab kisser
asked me
to sing in your band
I loved
the way you loved
creme brulee
vietnamese malaysian thai
held my hand at the movies
made me
wear my seatbelt
I loved
your music
how you couldn't
your collections
of rusted tools
instruments in cases
your guitars
the way you played
with your head bowed
I loved
your sadness
the sweep of it
like an ending
I couldn't bear