Hannah McHugh


How hard is your grip?

The skin sitting on my knuckles keeps lifting / leaking as if
I'm grating them in my sleep

(logically, this is all I can think of)

Walking home from work the long way, I thought I heard you sneeze
from the opposite end of the street
I mean: I'm realizing I still see a little of you in everyone

—a parabolic coping mechanism so that my mind
can keep my body wanting to stay here /
I mean: stay(,) still

I fantasize about texting you a picture of the smashed cherry tomatoes
that flew off someone's high rise balcony

I’d say: 

They made it to the highway overpass
Isn't that crazy?

I'm torn about this fantasy because
sometimes I'll accidentally throw in a "hope all is well!" 
in between the “crazy?” And the “Lol”

As if it's an email or something more formal, 
calculated, performed

I mean: cold

I mean: I'm getting too old to fantasize that we're close anymore


I’m dreaming of two queen size beds and a bathroom (not attached) 
with an Instagram caption that goes something like “don’t feed the dogs.”

“The dogs,” of course, being us—
all of which being allegedly

There’s another not so distant universe where every night before bed I
ask you if you’d like to get married, 
and another where you always say yes.

Do you think your 25-year-old self is dead? 
I guess I’m just tired of always knowing what’s going to happen next.
So lately I’ve been asking more questions like:

Do you really believe there’s such a thing as a smooth transition?

Would you agree that the body’s most accomplished function is none other
than an art of repression?

Where is your favorite spot to grieve, 
and will you ever take me there?

This one is mine, in case you were wondering.

Slam Dunk

Do you remember the first milestone / forked path with a wish at the end /
the part where you decide if you want to become a person or a story or
“the part that becomes a part of something else?”
(Don’t ask your first kiss which one seems most likely)

The cake even said: 

So, there must be some good in having something that’s not
on its way out of your brain
just yet.

Here we go:
There’s a devil and an angel on your shoulders!

The Boney Undergrad from Vassar v.s. The Boy on Tinder Featuring His MFA
(Round One) 
They're both waiting the deck of your parents’ first house
telling you to move it / get the shovel / start digging / 

It took around two decades for me to realize you don't throw wedding rings
out windows, like seeds.

They won’t grow into bigger houses or families anything better really and
digging them up doesn't help much either, so:

What’s the big surprise, Dad? 
The neighbors just look at us real funny now. 

Honestly, what’s more fucked up than fake flowers? 
A good pair of lips? 
Elbows you can wrap your whole hand around?

You know I’m going to keep them in my room for as long as I can help it because
that might just finally do it.

Hannah McHugh is a Chicago-based artist, writer, and recent graduate of SAIC. Her work expands a variety of media including sculpture, book-making, and performance. Some of her creative writing has been published by LDOC and Meekling Press.