Fouled compass in hand, pen in the other,
she never lies, but writes life like a legend.
A striga straddling a rotten fence post
between sleep and steel cities, she tears
from dream-time fibers and dirty dresses,
chipped teeth, dark matter, gold shoes, and god.
From this loose string, she spins yarns to knit
the limbs of a new lover, places these inside of her
mirror and waits patiently for each imperfect end
to pass through the next. She watches him appear,
strand by strand: his burning hair, his shallow wounds,
his feet that never touch ground. She then moves each
finely-planed image from mirror to wall, hangs it
like a page from a half-finished book; and like this
he has lived half of her life: his chest expanding
in only two dimensions, his breath folding in on itself,
his words falling flat from his tongue. She longed
to crawl inside of him, but she was only a witch
by degrees, could only make this much of him.
Her mouth fills with letters, symbols, strings, and equations.
She clings to her mirror, bites down on the glass, and lets
them bleed out of her gums, lips, and tongue and into him.
She knew that if she could peel him from glass and pages
all lies would disappear; together they could be all modal verbs
at once; would be blues, reds, and yellows simultaneously;
could live on both sides of her fence post without need
of magic carpets, thorn apples, and particle colliders;
would accidentally call into existence everything
they could desire: a typewriter, a cactus, a fast train,
a foggy night, herbs, and insight. With strangeness or hope,
a bullet or a child, each would become the other's
faith. “You and I will be infernal beasts,” she chants
as she moves each page of him from wall to silk
bed sheets. She places her compass on his heart,
her inkwell on his throat and proclaims, “In the beginning
was the word, and you and I must share it by halves.”
Crystal Hoffman’s poetry has appeared in a number of journals, including 3:AM, Moloch, A capella Zoo, FRiGG, Weave, and Maintentant. She is Artistic Director of The TypewriterGirls Poetry Cabaret, runs poetry playshops that promote surrealist and collaborative writing techniques, and is the newest member of The Poetry Brothel NYC. She completed her MA in English Literature with a focus on avant-garde poetry and performance. She lives in an intentional community and is a life long activist for social and environmental justice.
This piece was selected by guest editor Laura E. Davis. Laura E. Davis is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the City of Champions. She is currently an MFA candidate in poetry and nonfiction at Chatham University. She has read her poetry on the weekly radio show Prosody. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Splinter Generation, Redactions, Meadowland Review, The Ante Review, Pear Noir!, and dotdotdash. She teaches gifted education for a local charter school and is the Founding Editor of Weave Magazine.