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3 poems

by J. Bailey Hutchinson

J. Bailey Hutchinson was born in and remains haunted by Memphis, Tennessee. A graduate of the University of Arkansas MFA Program, she is the winner of New South's 2018 Poetry Contest, and her work has appeared in BOAAT, Wyvern Lit, Beloit, Salamander, and more. She is currently a Bookseller & Events Coordinator for Milkweed Books, and she is an Associate Poetry Editor for BOAAT Magazine. Full publication and contact info is available at

7 PM (Extended): Animal Crossing New Leaf



fat stratus / the smell of / charge oaring air / looking left, out of a window, sun-bath sleepy / precipice, the nearly of your knee and mine / destringing celery on the egg-blue porch / measuring the storm by lightning, its big-cat purr / we gather, accumulate, heap / heat-blister opened in sleep / the back of you, dusk-hill, firefly teemed and damp / ice settling, and settling, and settling in its vessel / dozy bee / how summer slys in, pouts the doorjamb / sweat-dims the panes / I’d sleep / with you / from orange-break to evening’s early fruit / plumskin / nectarine swelter / fence lizard nap-stuck to wood / porridge / sorghum / congo-pink which is / the bodiest / pink / how low-placed the ache is / warmth touring my each rib / in the bunchgrass, in the cartwheeling damselfly, noontime’s ointment / what makes the engine go? / desire, desire, desire / and sprawl / bedded in day and hot mulch / dream’s inbetween / routing me to a soupier you / all this, through glass keen as skins

J. Bailey Hutchinson Moves 658.8 Miles North and Tries to Make It Count

Here I go to hot-eye the road. To waller dirt like a sun-hungry centipede. Because. This warm licks different. What do I say about this town except it’s not mine, never made me, and that’s okay? To count the staples in a pole and not know them. To smell the river un-rouxed. Saturn, protein, the way my stepdad jaundiced in his recliner—who knows why I won’t sit still, but here I go to cow your arm, tongue wide as a shoebox. I don’t know who to be anymore, but I wonder the me that wine sicked every Ozark Tuesday, and Thursday, and Sunday, fourthplacing my mother who lives alone and is dying of it. Once, night-buttered, I rode my bike down a hill and begged that something might unexist me. Here I go to get grateful nothing did. The lakes, new and rootsunk, remind me what I haven’t held on to, and I want to ask, who told you? Who dumped all my no-goods—like you aren’t what moments every water? Despite, I call up my mother—we speak good. Bird-fluent. She is generous. The sun over the river is bladder colored. The sun in the low mountain blanched. Here, I watch the sun with a doglike almost, thinking: I am so nearly doomed, but there is a woman I might be.

Butterflies Are More Metal Than Moths

Editors' Note: this poem is best viewed on desktop.

We here present the results of [male butterflies] only, because it was difficult to obtain enough number of females for the study.Chen et al, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution


a common bluebottle sees five times

                                                                                                                  the colors we manage

what I imagine here

                                                                                                                      cannot be imagined

which leads me to wonder

                                                                                            what’s a ruddy hunk of marigold to

a butterfly’s eye

                                                                                                  citrus-fractal, gunk for bees, or

does the bud weird speech

                                                                                                 like a mouth plumbed inside out

I guess what I’m asking is

                                                                                            can butterflies see ghosts and if so

how many have I watered in a jar

                                                                           how many butterflies have laughed at me for

fingering a ghost’s nose or sometimes

                                                                            gummily sucking a chicken bone in the yard

because I think no one sees me

                                                                                    elbows propped on a rotten patio-beam

save the moths licking lamplight

                                                                                                                      beige and cabbagey

lingering in the night’s hot-damp

                                                                                                          I thought I matched a moth

because I can bonk at bright things

                                                                                                                             a real long time

then I read some moths are born

                                                                                                 mouthless but this doesn’t work

for me starving and moon-beautiful

                                                                                                          because I’ll drink any color

especially what’s invisible

                                                                                                    when a swallowtail wants wet

it finds what it can

                                                                                                    puddling mud rot occasionally

blood’s slick gel

                                                                                                   red seeping blue seeping black

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