James Hoch

from Brother Letters


Sometimes I am afraid if I step close
   my brother will take me, the way a fox

carries a small crow in his jowls,
   over hillside, under shed, wherever

fox go. Some part of me wants
   to belong inside– mouthful of feather,

a tuft of dark that makes us both.
   Sometimes I am afraid if I stand heron-

still, my brother will not see me
   at all, no matter the light, not hear me

no matter how pitched the shriek.
   Between fears, between wants,

I am building a nest out of wind.
   I am asking the wind to hold us.

James Hoch’s books are Miscreants (Norton) and A Parade of Hands (Silverfish). Last Pawn Shop in New Jersey is out in 2022 from LSU press. His poems have appeared in POETRY, The New Republic, Washington Post, Slate, Chronicle Review of Higher Education, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Kenyon Review, Tin House, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review and many other magazines, and has been selected for inclusion in Best American Poetry 2019. He has received fellowships from the NEA, Bread Loaf and Sewanee writers conferences, St Albans School for Boys, The Frost Place and Summer Literary Seminars. Currently, he is Professor of Creative Writing at Ramapo College of New Jersey and Guest Faculty at Sarah Lawrence.

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Winter 2021