“A poem should be palpable and mute / as a globed fruit”
This poem slips through fingers swift like silk.
Shifts in breeze easy as pollen from a maple tree,
or those small clusters of gnats as they do whatever
gnats do before their short life blows them some place
else: into the ether, the air, some interstitial “out there”
that can’t easily be held in the hand like a pomegranate,
an apple. So much depends upon word choice. Globed?
Forget figs, then. Same for starfruit, strawberry, pear.
This poem is a banana. It passes oblong through
liminal space and won’t shut up. It clamors
its meaning up the banyans. This poem is so loud
people can hear its echo down the street. No one
minds. Silence is deafening and mute may be cute
for old men who’ve spent their lives blathering,
but women know it can be deadly. So this poem
will not sit still on the counter waiting to be
lunch. This poem carves its own bowl, thank you.
It unpeels itself. Carries words in its lines flighty
as a dowager. This poem is not a stationary set
to place on a tidy desk. It knows things: physics,
mathematics, astronomy. This poem could hitch
a ride to the Omega Nebula if it chose, is about to
go all supernova, cannot sit still as a wingless bird
or a dumb sleeve-worn stone eroding into nothing.
This poem finds its own groove, has a master plan.
Not motionless in time. This poem needs to move.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Alicia Hoffman now lives, writes, and teaches in Rochester, New York. Her recent poems can be found in a variety of journals, including The Penn Review, Glass Poetry, Radar Poetry, The Shore, Journal Nine, The Watershed Review, A-Minor Magazine, and elsewhere. Her newest book, ANIMAL (Futurecycle Press) came out in March. Find out more at www.aliciamariehoffman.com.
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