TWO POEMS by Carlie Hoffman
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.