Image by Mari Helin

ALL SYSTEMS GO

ALICIA HOFFMAN

Trudy said my tarot urged towards a courage

I would always lack. Near twenty years later,

 

what can I say? That truth dissolves in the cracks?

Or that Cat, as she was known back then, read

 

from a stack bent on divination? Lately, the past

flashes like a strobe light upon my vision. I’ll be

 

doing nothing. The dishes. Then, the interruption.

Revelation. Above me, satellite’s orbit and rove.

 

Ursa Minor triangulates and somewhere near Grand

Canyon, a wolf pup is born after years of dwindling

 

populations. Question: does doubt make traitors of us

all? Sometimes I feel each cell of my body atomize

 

in the evening air, and I am so undone it is as if

the maker unfinished me. All my language here

 

to salve the wounds. I never healed from a broken

shoulder. Fifth grade and bike riding into my own

 

immortal delusions. In Japan, they call it wabi-sabi,

the imperfections. Leonard Cohen said there’s a crack

 

in everything, and that is how the light gets in.

Problem with aphorisms is everyone’s caught one,

 

and most make the social rounds misattributed.

That’s what’s up with wisdom. It circles the drain,

 

and the groundswell drinks from an untapped thirst.

The words echo in my throat like transcendence.

 

They peel from the loam, seep into the earth’s gaps.

Every day, whatever it takes to make us whole.

 

All systems go. Maps. The tracings. I never lived

on a cul-de-sac. Never will. My shame is the trailer

 

I’ve parked myself in. Address: same. Name:

whatever is lodged in the back of my father’s throat.

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, A-Minor Magazine, Glass: A Poetry Journal, Softblow, and elsewhere. You can visit her here: aliciamariehoffman.com.