by Alicia Hoffman
The filaments hum before the electric catch.
Hydraulic bus door now, pneumatic, pleading
its case before the latch. The space between
the inhalation of breath and its circling back.
Away from the crowds today I yearn to hear
in the upcoming year all the ways in which we
play appoggiatura. The melody so easy it is mostly
missed. The displacement of styrofoam scooped up,
taken to the bin by a stranger. The next to last in line
abiding by the calm rush of no time, letting everyone
behind him go, and maybe forever he is last, or maybe
a stranger is the first sustenance we ask for. I want to go
forth resolved to the air before the step, the tender heart
of each wayward beat. In the near distance, a soft swirl
of smoke wends its way to the sky. In it are orchestras
of our half-made apologies, rising now, a consecration
of soot and ash. In it is truth before the fact, the holy vow.
Let us listen carefully, find ourselves in the act. I hope
you can enter the subsequent chamber with me, broke
as I am. I hope we learn to sing the hymns that mend us.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Alicia Hoffman now lives, writes, and teaches in Rochester, New York. Her poems have appeared in a variety of publications, including The West Review, Radar Poetry, A-Minor Magazine, The Penn Review, Glass: A Poetry Journal, The Watershed Review, Rust + Moth, SWWIM, The Night Heron Barks, and elsewhere. Her new book, ANIMAL, is out now from Futurecycle Press. Find her at: www.aliciamariehoffman.com.