Open Letter to Michelle Duggar

from by Houston Hughes



An open letter to Michelle Duggar
star of 19 Kids And Counting,
who helped repeal an anti-discrimination amendment in our city
by sending out robocalls
claiming non-gendered bathrooms
would lead to an increase
in predators molesting children.

Dear Michelle
Around here,
Everyone has heard the joke,
about your body and the clown car,
both Overflowing with humans for our amusement,
But I think you you are are a traffic jam,
or an airport,
or something people are always moving through,
but never their final destination.

The day your future husband
came to convert you,
all smiles and bible to hide his intentions,
Did he mention then that his brand of christianity
came with an “always open” clause on your body?
That following his version of god meant
saying “no” would never again be an option?
Or did he wait until after the wedding,
till the first night you didn’t feel like being known biblically
to let you know your skin was scripture
you could never again keep sacred from him again?

When I see you on TV labeled “reality”
preaching the male fantasy that women
are created to find men and serve them.
I wonder if that’s just him,
his voice echoing through the cavern he has carved out of you.

Now, You are the buzzing hive of a home
to which your sweet drones will always return.
But when your husband touches you,
does it feel like he is only breaking you open for honey,
for the fruits of his pollination,
and your labor?

Michelle, when is the last time his hand moved up your thigh
Like he was searching for more than a container for compost,
an open hole to hold his filthy seeds until they sprout?

Is this why you make you girls wear skirts like blackout curtains,
Blouses like body armor,
Build firewalls against the outside world
Strong enough to withstand culture wars,
So you can keep them as long as possible
from the man you assume will also fuck them empty,
Will excavate any sense of self esteem
So that they can be filled
with whichever perversion of scripture or pleasure he pleases?

Michelle, we cannot makes laws
based on believing we all touch each other
with your family's brand of husbandry,
that we are all just out to plow someone
who we can treat like fertile dirt.

You can’t assume the worst from the world
Just because
that’s what you have to go home to every night,
just because you’ve never had anyone inside you
who could love you as more than a 9-month calendar,
as a tally sheet,
17, 18, 19, and still counting.

I think you dialed me by mistake
I think your automated anatomy
was trying to robocall for help,
for paramedics or police,
To dial just those three digits you need,
But by now your body has long forgotten
the meaning of “stop”,
So your fingers trembled
over and over and over.
until they found me,
and thousands of other numbers in my city
Who heard something in your voice
they mistook for honesty,
but was only truthful in its fear;
The word monger
means to traffic,
means to move through.

I don’t think you oppose this law
Just because someone with claws like your husband’s
or your sons
might hollow your daughters
into tunnels to pass through.

I think you oppose it
because the bathroom
may be the last place that you
still feel safe
from him.


from Growing Up, Not Old, released June 30, 2016
Music & arrangement by Skyler Greene
Keys by Joseph Hitchcock:
Additional recording by Skyler Greene



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Houston Hughes Fayetteville, Arkansas

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