Carlie Hoffman is the author of This Alaska (Four Way Books, 2021). Carlie's second poetry collection will also be published with Four Way Books in 2023. She is a recipient of a 92Y/Discovery Poetry Prize and a Poets & Writers Amy Award. Her poems, essays, and translations have been published or are forthcoming in New England Review, Gulf Coast, Denver Quarterly, AWP: The Writer's Notebook, Los Angeles Review, Boston Review, and elsewhere.
TWO POEMS by Carlie Hoffman
Wednesday, 15 April 2020
ELEPHANT IN THE MIND
You grieve in the bathroom brushing your hair
while elephants roam the black sand.
It is August and you love someone.
The elephant’s ear, God’s hand.
What’s gone shimmers.
Goneness: opal as a tusk.
You hear the flags of the world
shiver every way in the wind,
elephants among the wild vines,
the olives shining.
I was young, a myth, chewing
the apple. I slept in a hemisphere
of coats pushing out of the flames.
Every city burns, I know,
though I’m not a mystic.
There are so many ways to be
betrayed by a country—
My ancestors—goat bones,
stars in the butcher’s thumb.
They live in the milky river
that surges through the mountain
burdened with our names.
- Published in Issue 17