Last October my father
withered in bed next to the parakeet,
the carpet smothered in bird shit.
On the steps of my favorite cathedral
I repeated fuck you
to an ex who was not there.
Not even the water, churning forever
in the river’s holiest mouth
would envy me. I was hungry
for nothing—the tongue,
thrilled to be cleaved, the sound
of a clock becoming his name.
Carlie Hoffman is the author of This Alaska (Four Way Books, 2021), the founder and editor-in-chief of Small Orange Journal, and a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Purchase College, SUNY. Her second collection is also forthcoming with Four Way Books in 2023.