Giving the Names of Things Their Solitude

Carlie Hoffman

I don't remember when I began hearing

a tune in the rain and architecture

but nights are so tranquil now

like floating in seawater, the teal broth

making room for me, a minor planet.

I float through my weeks listening

to birds lifting from the sable lottery

of city trash bags, glad to be far away

from your voice, undisturbed by speech.

I have always cared too much for the idea

that two animals who have minds,

an aptitude for thought, are meant

to understand and take care of each other.

Even in failure it's something I demanded—

a virtuoso demanding eloquence

from a smashed flute. Through the twilight

spring's pink blossoms give

themselves away. I’m not sorry if we never

speak again—the exaggerated squirrels,

their kissing bones, and tearing through soil

the raw sounds of the new world.

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