Sara Pirkle Hughes

The Red Devil  

How slowly I swam
through months
of unknowing,
my cheeks creased
from sleeping in chairs,
where bitterly I flailed
in rough-cut dreams
of myself while
the crimson poison
snaked through my veins,
and hospital machines
breathed, singing
their winter fugues.

Sara Pirkle Hughes is a Southern poet, an identical twin, a breast cancer survivor, and a university instructor.