Alicia Hoffman

Gold Star

For at least attempting, for once in awhile
almost succeeding, and this one is for being,

and here is one for wanting so damn well
what could never exist it’s a shadow-dance

on the wall that night you almost believed it,
that night you were winning, that night black

and white merged into a twin you were hell
bent on exceeding. Here is for the triumph

of forgetting each small blade, each sharp slit
in the back of your skin that hung straight

as a trophy swinging through the Acacia trees
down the road, and here’s one for walking

through the ghost light of the suburbs. Here
is one for not being jailed. And here is one

for the key. Here is for that golden token
you take with you through mid-town lots

that is not so much a heavy thing but a way
of being uncaged in the streets. Here is for

the stars that shine on you. Here is for the moon.
For the thinnest flint of it that cuts like the knife

you escaped in that room of you. Forgetting
is a blessing. I don’t want to dig in deep.

They say we must bleed to unlock stronger
selves and all I want to do is set us free.

Our Father

Who art indefatigably delirious,
who must have been unintentional
in his desire to create, who art
the artist unstoppable, the builder
of arcs and light and shadow
and also of crayfish and paper,
who art the maker of the indisputably
adorable squid but also of
the bullet, the noose, the broken
bridge over water, temple of steel,
machinery and electricity, so
hallowed be thy lake effect
snowfall on a Tuesday night
in upstate New York, hallowed
be thy rain, thy kingdom come
from the mollusk to the train
car, the mud run to the shots
fired into the faces of whoever
must be listening to echo
chamber of song and scream
to give us this day unfettered,
this day of bandwidth and radio
silence, curved architecture
over the plaza, the muffled flight
of pigeon, wren, the laughter
rising from the balloon man,
the twists and bends of the rivers,
the blood, thy will be a witness
to the trespass, the forgiveness
dripping off the sweating brows
of cormorants, egrets, doves fat
in their flight over cities stuffed
to the beaks with leftover bread.

Author Portrait

Originally from Pennsylvania, Alicia Hoffman now lives, writes, and teaches in Rochester, New York. Author of Like Stardust in the Peat Moss (Aldrich Press, 2013), her poems have appeared in a variety of journals, and have recently been included in Radar Poetry, Word Riot, One Throne Magazine, Rust + Moth, A Minor Magazine, Redactions, Hermeneutic Chaos, and elsewhere. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, she holds an MFA in Poetry from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.

View the website of Alicia Hoffman