Image by Nicole Capello

Man in the Street

Man in the Street

He claps a hand
across the gaping hole -

or else the sight might
well inside to

melt the mind (if any
thinking spoke

were in the wheel,
or any real

fright-fragments broke
out of the gorge to

soak the breast, the meaning
might incite a stroke - best

press against it, close
the clawhole, stand

in stupor, petrified. The dream
be damned, the deeps defied.

The hand's to keep
the scream inside.


'Man in the Street' or 'Hand Over Mouth' first published in The American Scholar Magazine, 2006, © Heather McHugh 2006, used by permission of the author

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