TWO POEMS by Carlie Hoffman

/ / Issue 17



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.