celestial coordinates

NASA writes poetically about the science of space – the infinite darkness that we – our celestial little time bomb- are constantly floating through. There are craters on moons that can only be concealed by bigger craters. A collection of impacts unsuccessful in destroying the moon. I have yet to read about the weariness hungover from lunar battles. The moon just keeps being the moon and space still is without oxygen.

I feel myself floating away most days, still tethered to an air supply, still wrapped like plastic bubble wrap in a space suit. But I’m floating up and the air is thinning and I see thousands of tiny hands clawing at me, trying to take pieces of me. They must not realize how I’m already suffocating so if they get too close, I’ll stop breathing all the way.

I like to imagine that I can find my own celestial coordinates. Like a telescopic X-ray of my body, all the craters carved into my body would appear. A story of all my own lunar battles before I dissolved into particles finer than the dust on mars.


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved


i think the dragonflies are trying to find me

bring me the grit i’m lacking

they’ve been circling me for days

as i’ve wrapped myself in a cocoon

of beach sand and tears

hiding on my perch

they keep flying right up to my windows

i think maybe they want me to join them in flight

maybe they know i need to find a way to fly

to spread my wings and let the dust of everything

fall from my bones

fall off my body like sand

i think the dragonflies are trying to find me

they won’t leave me

and i’ve never felt so alone


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved


deboned perch

please – please just stay away. because i feel myself getting vicious. i think you might think i’m pretty – even though you’ve been careful to never outright say it. but my eyes, i think you like them the way you look at them, look into them, are now goldenrod on fire. my body, hunched over like deboned perch. so please, before i find a collection of random bones to substitute my spine and the goldenrod flames turn on you and try to light you on fire, just stay away. you’ve got nothing to offer, nothing you want to share. and i’m left behind like the discarded, peeled skin of perch on the fishing table and i have no problem setting flame to this entire cabin, the shit cabin-empty but the four walls leaning on each other. don’t think i don’t know the impact of just taking out one wall.


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved

truth is

truth is…

right now i can’t fucking stand myself. i don’t recognize myself, i feel not like a ghost in my own body – this is me and i really can’t stand it.

truth is…

every time i leave your house in the morning i’m disgusted with myself. not shame or embarrassment, just disgust. like i drank curdled milk… and keep drinking it. and i don’t sleep well and i’m a little hungover and the strain in my voice haunts me the whole day.

you’ve stopped being a muse, my words are waiting for something better, more meaningful, less pitied.

truth is…

i used to know my way out of messes like this. like you. i used to believe there was some greater reason for all this. i think now maybe you’re a clue that i need help out of this mess, because the mess inside has always been there, a dirty pile of clothes just waiting to be set on fire. but instead of some hot blaze i know to run from, it’s more a tiny smoldering cherry that i can’t find to stomp out. so everything is smoking and burning down and i’m just standing there doing nothing. smoking too many cigarettes. saying yes over and over and over for some dumb reason.

truth is…

i can’t fucking stand myself right now. i do blame you a little. i mostly just blame me.


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved

the eve…

i’m turning 37 tomorrow

so today

I’ll try to make life changes

i’ve been meaning to…


i’m gonna clean those garden beds

up real nice and remember

to use my sunscreen


i’m going to practice sketching

eyes and leaf skeletons &

maybe even bones since i now have a

collection of them outside my own body


my own aging body…

maybe i can study these bones

before i turn 37 & maybe

wisdom & peace will present

itself as if i’m reading tea leaves


i’m gonna make my own tea.

pluck all the mint from my own garden

and muddle those leaves

just like i read online


and maybe with my sketching

done & bone-tea-leaf readings

finished, I’ll actually sit


and soften so I can start

reading  Hemingway again

He must have thought

in ellipses too, like me, because

he’s always going on & on

it’s so poetic. I want to be more poetic…


maybe now that tomorrow i’m

turning 37, I can be

more poetic & less of me.

less of a smoker & a

strange lady with too much

sadness in her…


i wonder if someone tried to

read my bones like

garden-fresh tea leaves, would

they see all the sadness there? Has it

infected my bones, too?


My heart has been a cavern

for sad shit like that but i never

thought about where else the sadness was infecting…


maybe the sadness worked its way

into my bones, making

its way into my bloodstream

and is wrapping

itself into my dna


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved



i can’t talk to you anymore.

i chased a sunset i could never fully see tonight. the exploding tangerine and soft columbine pink popped out behind those mountainous clouds just enough to remind me of the beauty i’m always chasing, the love i’m always hunting. I never find where it starts.

when i got home i took a warm bath and lit my new candle i didn’t buy for you.

i louffa’d my whole body and finally soak-washed my hair. shaved my legs and used that lotion i can never remember to use. my whole face is waxed and i’m not worried about missing eyebrows.

i just can’t talk to you anymore.

my nails are painted red again. i took my mascara off all the way. i scrubbed you off me, left you in the dirty bath water to circle the drain, off me.




©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved


its not hard to see, now

that all we ever had was just

snack in the course of life

a mere morsel, an appertiff of

what we all seek

it tasted sweet,

you tasted so damn sweet i wanted to make

a meal of you, of us

of all those nights we dragged on into the morning

but the mornings were so damn bitter,

the way i like my coffee, but you don’t



©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved



her mother tended to meddle

too much because her father never gave a damn

her mother took on the role with the same grace as someone stung by bees

the way her face twisted as each question forced its way out her pursed lips

the way her body tightened, flinching with each unsatisfying response

disdain clung to her mother’s skin like her caked-on powder


her father barely knew the face of his daughter

so her mother studied every nuanced line on her daughter’s face

mapping lies and guilt before words fully escaped her insecure lips

she circled her daughter’s life with precision, not warmth

the way vultures hunt the sky

the way flies can act like vultures hunting the sky



©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved



it’s not infrequent i cringe

at myself in the mornings

the night before fuzzy like a plastic magnifying glass

i can’t seem to shake you

i can’t seem to hold onto me

long enough, strong enough

to fully break free

in the morning with sobriety pulling back the sleep from my eyes

i cringe at what i see, what i’ve become

and heavy is the weight of it all

so by nightfall

i slip back into you, back into drink

back into the safety of your plastic promises


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved