Back to Issue Thirty-Nine

Spring Wedding



The day before we married, we napped
in the afternoon, with no sheets over us,
and felt the breeze from the lake
on our backs and butts and legs. It felt different, a small
rebellion, though we’ve slept
in one another’s arms for ten years,
like little beasts, vulnerable
and hairy, with saliva on our skin.
The next day
we were men again: ironed shirts, knotted
ties of silk, deodorant, parted hair, promises:
We will have children.
We will buy another house.
One of us will get cancer.
All of our parents will die.







I kept my bathing suit on through dinner.
After a day of nothing,
pretending to read, waiting for a man to touch me.
I lay motionless.
The electric fan making the room noisy,
blowing around all those drafts,
drafts in which the lover is transformed
into an animal.
The sun got high.
Goats named after Roman emperors
ate from my hand.
Shoeless in rows of shrubs
in an absolutist garden.
The season was ending.
I was alone. My odor was like a fern’s.



Bottom’s Dream



The less he can see me, smell me, hear me, and taste me
the better. It’s by design, Madonna
playing, my shirt open, another season entirely
outside, where we spill out onto an almost-winter street:
I remember smoke drifting from his lips
making Rococo shapes, his mouth sticky. The limestone walls
making us so hairy and dynamic
by contrast. I think of those paintings kept behind a curtain
in a perverted bishop’s collection.
Don’t I know then: my death will be a thin fabric
he kisses me through. Fuck. I shouldn’t say that:
I’m from New Jersey, my dad was an executive, my fantasies of violence are trite.
Still, I thought it; everything humid
for a minute, the lindens shedding globby tears.


Richie Hofmann‘s new collection of poems, A Hundred Lovers, will be published by Alfred A. Knopf in February 2022.

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