The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


H. L. Hix

How do you have sex in hell?

                                      (Young-ha Kim) 


Her name was Carpathia. From which fact
alone I should have known no good could come
of it. Her stories didn’t all connect
to one another, or quite follow from
anything I’d said. Or from how she clicked
her nails against the glass, known to go home.
From her being there. From my having asked.
Or anyway she said that was her name.
Still, it was not about Carpathia,
or, apparently, about me, either,
or which one of us was the crazier
for not avoiding obvious danger.
But that, even knowing, — that way she had —
I’d succumb. She’d beckon. I’d go over.


H. L. Hix

Where do you draw the line between languages?

                                      (Homi K. Bhabha) 


It’s my native language, I’m fluent,
but people still think I’m foreign,
I speak with so thick an accent.
My family moved to Michigan
when I was five. At home we hadn’t
spoken anything else. I began
kindergarten wholly ignorant,
alien in words and in skin.
When a boy said it was his turn
on the swing, I didn’t understand.
He hit me. I hit back. How explain?
I was mute for a month afterward,
and when finally I spoke again,
my words bent to his. They still bend.




H. L. HIX's most recent poetry collection is American Anger (Etruscan Press, 2016).  He lives in the mountain west with his partner, the poet Kate Northrop, and writes in a studio that was once a barn.  His website is



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