by Alicia Hoffman
Cape, from the latin cappa, hooded cloak,
a promenade of cloth or land, jutting from
the larger body. Our ancestors had mettle then,
scouting the sounds of their throats and mouths
for new words. This piece alone flaps out
larger than a cap or mantle, and look,
in the beveled scope of spyglass
the azimuth arising beyond the axis.
It is the tell-tale tallness of my father,
and his father, and the fathers before them,
amassed at the mast of a metaphoric vessel,
heaped up like the must of fox-grape now,
and now working at the arbor, large-palmed
and stained with the blood of their own historic
fruits. What would I say if I saw them, busy and
imbedded as they are in their own autobiographies?
May I have that chance, evangelical angel
I’ve become? May I confess I know nothing?
That the sum of space between my house and
the nearest sun is just an older name for nothing?
This marriage burrows, an undiscovered amphibian
deep below sub-continental soil. Here, the monsoons
come with open tongues and fists. They are automated
nail guns on the dense roof of our house, weighted
with salt from the overhead clouds, wrapping us in red
shrouds of muslin. It’s like Rabindranath Tagore
at Disney World, this marriage. It’s swift mercury
hidden beneath the sounds and colors of fantastic worlds.
It’s after five here on a Friday afternoon. The unemployed
employ their swag down to the South Avenue bread line.
If today succeeds, we may win the lottery for life. Hey,
you never know. The longevity in a shelf-life of promise.
The obvious savings and the costs involved in the dream.
Together, we can board uncongested trains to the moon.
Leesha, he will say, and she will unbuckle her belt-strap
before barely stepping onto space mountain. Together,
they will float and float. Later, they will remember
their days only by looking back at memorandums,
the ephemera of notes stuck haphazardly in the pages
of old books. This is a post-colonial love. No, this is
a neo-gothic archway in Antonio Gaudi’s imagination.
This is la paso doble, fast and double-stepped in front
of frothing bulls saying whatever you do, don’t stop now.
All the while, we curl into nightly neolithic sleeps, wrap
our heads and legs around vestigial tails intertwined
in the dark spaces of a modern world and try to slow it down.
Alicia Hoffman lives, writes and teaches in Rochester, New York. Her poems can be found at Redactions, Red Wheelbarrow, elimae, Boston Literary Magazine, Pirene’s Fountain, Dogzplot, SOFTBLOW and elsewhere. She has two broadsides, Losing Duende and Good Fortune, available through Ink Publications and her first full length collection is forthcoming from Foothills. She occasionally has stuff to say here: http://aliciamariehoffman.blogspot.com