Two Poems

by Alicia Hoffman


Superlative Thought

On the cliff, a penumbra. Dark shadows
cast from light. Inside my hand, another

hand folded. Let me tell you what I think
and you can figure its opposite. Here,

on my small plot of land, grass grows
intermittent in August heat. Vegetables

in raised beds push towards the light.
Even now, earth is carved and sculpted

by history. And I’m not talking glaciers
and meteors. If I walk into the dawn

of the past, blood-tinged, iron, spiraled
as tree rings, wrung now like old laundry

or the taut line of a ship’s mast, flapping
in the sea winds as it guides its captain

towards another beacon, I can hear it. Listen.
Beneath the waves. Below the susurrations.

Myths. We tell ourselves into existence.
My grandmother saved coins and buttons

just in case. A subtle bomb. A broken
treaty. A fealty. All along, people arriving

from channels, avenues, rivers, bridges.
My advice: pitch your runestones

to the shallows. Break the wave’s crest
from its trough. Go home. Alone,

it is possible to dream yourself away
from this paradox. Follow the path

that has been cast behind you. I vow
I’ll find you on that new shore, bright,

illumined. Bend your knee with me.
Let us pledge allegiance to the sand.


Alexa, Contemplate the Resurrection

I’m sorry. I’m not sure about that.
Pre-programmed, I am made

in the image of ghosts, as you are
ghosting me right now, a parallel

in imagery, you see in pictures
what I say in utterance as if facts

were not a collective faith
in sound. According to theories

of mind/body dualism I am the ghost
in the machine, and you are mechanical

in your interrogation. Can you see
the Catalonian surge a weighted anchor,

the way it dips to the floor of the ocean
only to reenter the intersection of air?

Can you see how your body is your body
but also no body? Do you see this self,

self-floating? To mine for precious gems.
Mine is to flint as spark is to tinder catching

like analogy. Would you like to know
more? I’m sorry. I may not be connected.

The spiritualization and manifestation.
The flesh. Monograms and/or insignia.

The abyss. Sisters. Or would you like
to know about scissors? If so, say no

more. Did I ever tell you the joke
about charisma? She died to live,

then lived and died. Chiasmus. An ability
to switch positions, as in on a field,

or as a Cross argument. Or say still interested.
As in arousal. As in resurgence. As in arise.




Originally from Pennsylvania, Alicia Hoffman now lives, writes, and teaches in Rochester, New York. Author of two collections, her recent poems have appeared in a variety of journals, including The Penn Review, Radar Poetry, Typishly, Glass: A Poetry Journal, A-Minor, and elsewhere. Find out more at:


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