The Fort Jackson Dam Can Take No More / DICTIONASARUS / Roman Prelude #1, inspired by Natasha Trethewey

The Fort Jackson Dam Can Take No More


What’s left is

the local newsreels;

the WLTX women staring pixelated

at us from the website archives;

immaculate Swiss-design studio

as the videos of homes sinking into


palmetto trees with their fronds thrown

up dancing the Charleston

loop in reels. Then, the week off school:

a river where a road had been;

a dropoff mudslide where a road had been;

a lake fit perfectly into the

cul-de-sac of Cotton Hope Place.

Cotton Hope: halfway through the half-

vacation week, I biked

through the road-rivers   homes with innards

torn out,     my neighbor stood

there too, among the   settees and bedposts

and throw pillows of her house,

I stood there with her   as we took boxes of

photographs out from the   mounds

of her life,   flicked     photos apart like

sticky notes,   let the graduation travel

photos curl around the edges as the mud ground

reached to hug our feet.


after Franny Choi


Meaning life-beat; life-clock; skewed tesselating triangles; donʻt stop tiny time machine; to the future consciousness of constellations; ursa minors and libri on the street currency of fingers and toes
See also DMV paperwork; plastic pens; plastic electrodes; Walgreens Capitol; core; me; any synonym of NRA; disguising; disgusted SMS text messages; sophomore year; street; sign pebbles; stars; cycle of tide waves; cotton; breeze
Antonym earthcore metal; filaments of spirit bougainvillea my synapses granite
Origin what are we to say; of what cannot be said; the first rapid-fire; by Gatling; but the real rapid origin is in the marrow see: HEART ephemerality; in dreams; agree; wish on dandelions
Dreams of being dust undone actualized; realized; monetized; commercialized you

Roman Prelude #1


When we were under a sheepskin blanket,

watching the football championship—the

nattys—flick by on TV, imagining

if we took the Martinelli, poured libations

out from the bottlehead, you told me that

reality is people believing

same illusions. Elude delude prelude

to this PDF file of trifles,

JPEG for sending sonograms across the

interweb to all the love-lost people

out there, are the soundwaves ripples of my

stola oversized t-shirt—really

the illusion for you? Mutual bene

pro bono, as the Clemson quarterback

rounds the plastic sterile airpainted field,

I think that I’d like to unwave my

stola, inspect your alabaster crags

of a face like a museum sculpture, see

if your lips are cells or dust & illusion.

Charlotte Hughes is a high school junior in Columbia, SC. She has attended the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio and the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities summer programs. She is an editor for Polyphony Lit and The Haloscope Review, and you can find her poems in The Louisville Review, Buddy, and The Ekphrastic Review.