Give the Lake a Moment to Speak About the Horses by Carlie Hoffman

I have a heart. It is full
             of horses. My mother’s


heart, the horses.
             In the lake’s center,


rain breathes down.
             Someone lies bedridden. 


Someone’s brother
             goes estranged. For years,


hooves steep in mud, 
             a mare’s bent knee.


Closure is the rain
             dripping over blood-lined leaves


above our dream lake. No,
             the water was never blue.


No, don’t catch 
             this heart. Sadness, too, 


it carries. Which horse 
             do you carry?


That’s what you need to know.

Carlie Hoffman is the author of This Alaska (Four Way Books, 2021), which is shortlisted for the Foreword Indies Book of the Year Award. Her second collection is forthcoming with Four Way Books in 2023. A poet and translator, her honors include a 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize and a Poet’s & Writers Amy Award and her work has been published in Los Angeles Review of Books, Kenyon Review, Boston Review, New England Review, Jewish Currents, and other publications. Carlie is the founder and editor-in-chief of Small Orange Journal.