by Alicia Hoffman
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: http://www.aliciamariehoffman.com