Cynthia Marie Hoffman

Corpse Meditation

Your bedroom is a tomb. Outside the window, a hawk sits on a streetlight as if lifting the night’s curtain in its talons to unveil the second act of light. There is a religious practice that imagines the moments after death. But that’s not what this is. Mothers worry what would become of their children. But that’s not what this is. It begins to snow. You imagine your daughter comes into the room, just tall enough to peer over the mattress, her forehead damp with dreams. You are not asleep but cannot be roused. What happens next? Do you watch her from above? Reach to her with your non-hands? You cling so tightly to this world. It is the reason your mind obsesses over leaving it. You are magic. The more you meditate on death, the more you are protected from it. The hawk in the night is a talisman. Crystals of light collapse against the house. Your child’s tiny winter boots by the back door wait for morning.

Cynthia Marie Hoffman is the author of Call Me When You Want to Talk about the Tombstones, Paper Doll Fetus, and Sightseer, as well as the chapbook Her Human Costume. Her poems have appeared in jubilat, Fence, Blackbird, diode, The Journal, and elsewhere.

Next poem

Previous poem

Fall 2021