I dreamed I had died
and didn’t tell anybody.

It was my death;
none of their business.

When I met the angels
they were all the same

birds I’d been hearing,

all my life. And when
I woke I recalled the way

their singing felt but no
words, not in this world,

though I’m now convinced
there’s more joy to be had

than we ever believed
we might allow ourselves.

So I listen to the birds
in the breathing trees.


Richard Hoffman is the author of seven books, including the celebrated Half the House: a Memoir, published in a 20th Anniversary Edition in 2015, and the 2014 memoir Love & Fury. In addition to the volume Interference and Other Stories, he has published four collections of poetry: Without Paradise; Gold Star Road, winner of the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize and the Sheila Motton Award from The New England Poetry Club; Emblem; and most recently Noon until Night. He is Senior Writer in Residence at Emerson College and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Columbia University.