Poems by Carlie Hoffman

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We Dig the Graves

by Carlie Hoffman

From Canary Fall 2015

Carlie lives between the Hudson and Harlem Rivers.

We wait for night to return
to the river, our hands now cold and capable

carrying the shovels. Our feet
dampened with reeds. In new light

the sunk gulls surface, pale bellies
turned upward like teeth. Already

the evidence disassembles. I ask what happens
after the need to keep other worlds

at their distances, each with their own
cruel sun to kneel beneath.

We search wet ground for evenness,
we dig the graves to bury the stiff, white birds

along the riverbank, turn away from them.
Beside a thicket, a pair of black-tails

fold their bodies on the cusp
of sleep, infant antlers

darkened by cloud. To kill
is unremarkable. Who lied to you.

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