Animal Dressed in the Skin of Your Silence

Carlie Hoffman  

I am permitted to know only the garden,

     the pond, a mesh of fish silvering downstream.

Fingers pressed in mud, in this world I imagine

     my dead cousins dancing in a landscape

of lavas and basalts, glowing stone

     from the world’s heart. I stare into

the sixteen petals of the Daphne.

     In this world, I bathe only

in a porcelain tub, the pipes

     clogged with wet earth, water filtered

from a landscape of furious heat.

     I imagine I can imagine cousins.

     The water rises. The steam rises.

Will I ever stop being angry

     for never hearing my family’s language?

In every city,

     every spit-shined field,

I hear the violet, ancient noise

     of my family’s silence. The silence

shimmers. It is forged the way Earth’s magma

     is made into glimmering rock.

This rock will furnish

     the future’s room.

about the author