May 11, 2018

A Poem by Andrew Hubbard: "Long Time Passing"

Andrew Hubbard recently moved back to Indiana after ten years in Houston, Texas. He has had five books published, including, most recently, his first book of poetry, "Things That Get You," which was produced by Interactive Press. He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2015. His new book, The Divining Rod, is available at:


Long Time Passing

I know some young people
And when I try to tell them
What my life was like
Before we had a television,
A telephone, a furnace,
Or a toilet—they try
To understand, they really do.
But it doesn’t work,
They glaze over, and compute
My age in centuries.

But the pictures run through my mind
With crystal clarity. I may not know
What I had for breakfast, but I know
About things that they will never know.

We got our water by bucket
From a hand-dug well,
And every August when it ran dry
My father sent me across the road
With two, gallon jugs
That once held pickles
To our neighbors’, to fill them.

They had a beautiful white sink
And when you pulled a lever
Clean water flowed out in an endless stream.
I had never seen anything like it.

When my jugs were full
I walked them back through the barn
That still smelled like horses
Ten years after they got a tractor.

I was always alone in the barn
And on the wall was tacked
A full-color picture
Of the most beautiful young woman
In the world, kneeling on a beach,
Laughing, holding her long, red hair
Off her face.  She was naked.

I was too shy to stop and stare
Or even walk too close
But the feelings she gave me
Are as strong as they ever were.

Our neighbors died.
The barn was bulldozed.

I figure that gorgeous woman
Is now in her nineties.

There is a rueful pain
And an acquiescent numbness
That doesn’t really have a name.

How do you communicate all this,
Or any of this, to people
Born half a century later?
I try, they try—
They sense my tired amusement,
I sense their bored impatience.
Truce.  We call it a day.

~Andrew Hubbard

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