Matins//Alicia Hoffman

If mine is a whale song. If down

in the heart is a tunnel. If canary

exists, & yellow flight is possible.

For cowards the mind is a minefield.

If one step forward equals viable

shock, one step back is yes, this too

is false flag, barreling crescendo,

rupture opening. If the wound

is exposed. If it more quickly heals.

If it is consciously covered. If it hides

in plain sight. A trick of the light.

If every new morning is a settlement.

A slow sift and stall. Perhaps a pause

in the great experiment, our backs

against the wall. If we stare down

the barrel. Fight or flight. If we are

a gathering of wind. As if body

was always the only metaphor.

If we gust. Rush. Blast. Squall. Roar.

If we open so wide it is its own 

stillness, its own precious resource.

If it is a fullness we feel, and we let

the language of it, and it saves us. 

Originally from Pennsylvania, Alicia Hoffman now lives, writes, and teaches in Rochester, New York. Author of two collections, her poems can be found in a variety of journals, including The Penn Review, Radar Poetry, SOFTBLOW, Rust + Moth, Up the Staircase, and elsewhere. Find out more at