The Gate

How often did I beg the world for signs?
Fog purls above the river. Years have passed
like shadows. Everything that’s happened since

floods seamlessly together. Cold so dense,
it’s hard to breathe. You left me—I collapsed.
Why did I need to beg the world for signs?

Our final photograph—your shoulders tense—
no laughter there, no gesture of love. Our past,
flat as a shadow. What has happened since?

Time drifted like snow, absolving all your sins
and most of mine. I’ve saved the worst for last.
How when I begged the silent world for signs,

instead, it showed me how all grief begins
its slow diminishing—love’s monuments lost
in the marbled fog like shadows. Ever since,

this loss was the land I lived on and its fence.
But now, the gate swings open. Fog so vast,
it’s blinding—no more shadows, no more since.
I begged. The world has given me these signs.

Ashley Anna McHugh

Ashley Anna McHugh

Ashley Anna McHugh’s debut poetry collection, Into These Knots, was the 2010 winner of The New Criterion Poetry Prize. She was the 2009 winner of the Morton Marr Poetry Prize, and her poems have appeared in Nimrod, Measure, The Journal and The Hopkins Review, as well as in other publications.
Ashley Anna McHugh

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Author: Ashley Anna McHugh

Ashley Anna McHugh’s debut poetry collection, Into These Knots, was the 2010 winner of The New Criterion Poetry Prize. She was the 2009 winner of the Morton Marr Poetry Prize, and her poems have appeared in Nimrod, Measure, The Journal and The Hopkins Review, as well as in other publications.