Her eyes are silver slits of pooled mercury

gathering in his hand

slipping through the cracks of his fingers –

she slides down his arm

and begins to descend into a mess

trying to escape herself

She can only be contained

in glass jars she wants to break from

and shatter.

He says he finds her mess beautiful –

he does not want to contain her

and this is the most beautiful thing

she’s ever heard

His words now gather like pooled mercury

in the base of her ears –

he’s the only thing she hears now,

everything else just falls away

When her eyes wrap around his words

and his words wrap around her body,

they boil to the point of explosion

and shatter


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved



Sometimes you still walk through my front door like you live there, like my home is still our home and your new wife doesn’t really exist and this life you created without me, after me, is just a farce.



© 2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved


and when i see you i don’t see pink anymore… i don’t see the color of bleeding hearts in May and i think i forgot how to eat when we met so now my thighs are fading into a pale soft pink, so light you almost can’t see them anymore

i like how the rain smells in the morning without you and i don’t think i mind that i no longer can see the pink sunrise from your room …. it all just faded into the typical blue sky anyways… even on grey days the sky was becoming predictable

i don’t mind that the color of pink is yours, not mine – i never really cared for any of those too soft and too delicate shades – i like my hues less subdued and bold like the color of the sky exploding in protest going down for the night…

and i don’t think i like the color of you anymore…

©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved



You just keep pulling strands of her out of your mouth-

and you never figure out

she’s not a real girl,

made of bones and dreams


she’s stained sheets

drying on the clothes line, waiting

for the wind to stop and

the sun to bleach her clean


she’s a haiku

with too many syllables, waiting

for someone to edit her and rearrange her back

into something beautiful


she’s papier-mache

drying into a piñata, waiting

for the bats to swing, knowing

they will never break her all the way

©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved

She’ll say…


She sits on her love seat,

morning sun dancing across the floor

Her aged fingers grip each other,

hands holding hands – filling the space where his hands no longer hold her

She’ll ask you to set the table,

she’ll say please don’t make a fuss for your mother, she works so hard for you girls

She’ll ask you to come sit next to her on the davenport

and together you’ll watch the shows she usually watches by herself

She’ll ask you to go warm the bed for her

She’ll add ‘kins’ after she says your name

She won’t tell you the depth of her grief outright, but you’ll feel it when she says

just be glad you have someone to give that Valentine’s Day card to. You’ll never realize how lucky you are until you no longer can give him cards

and you’ll know you never want to feel that kind of pain, that kind of sadness.

She’ll never fill your head with stories of how amazing their love was, either.

She’ll never put their love on a pedestal to be idealized…

instead she’ll tell you about how they were equals, how they worked side-by-side, he made sure everyone knew she wasn’t his secretary, she was his partner.

And in the morning when it’s time for you go home, she won’t make a fuss

She’ll ask you to make sure you don’t forget anything

do you need anything for the road?

She’ll remind you to be good and remember your mother works so hard for you girls.

She’ll let you know she will say a prayer to St. Christopher for you all, but please don’t forget to call when you get home safe

And as you load the car and start to pull away

She’ll be in the window waving, smiling

©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved

Mother of Pearls

*early draft… much more to do one this one…*

Her body is weary before it ever gets old. Bones stronger than granite, tissue soft skin.

Eyes so blue the horizon gets lost in them

Her daughters fill her world like start dust fills the sky; she’s the moon and they wait every night for her to shine.

Mornings are too chaotic for any poetic reflection; it’s in between the clamoring of dishes going from sink to dishwasher and protests of brushing teeth that she notices the time. Notices the quiet of the phone not ringing tonight. This silence does little to soften the weight on her shoulders.

If she could take all the pain, all the sadness and dark bitter edges that come with the pain, and weigh her body down even more she would. She would bury herself in the pain, give in to this quicksand life that she is fighting so hard to stay above. But she knows she cannot. There’s just some things a mother’s love cannot quite fix, cannot quite protect against, and the imprint of him, his lack of love and curiosity, his lack of interest in their birthdays or holidays or report cards, his bomb-dropping phone calls shattering their childhood time and again – she can do little to protect her sweet girls from him.

She tries so hard to absorb all the shock waves threatening her beautiful home. Her home, a beautiful old Victorian with cracked wood floors and gardens to get lost in. Clapboard walls hidden beneath sharp aluminum siding that rattles like thunder.

She sneaks in the good memories where she can – crushed between cars breaking down and child support not coming and work. She works and works and works. Works to feed her daughters, works to be free from him, works for her independence and sanity and because she doesn’t know how else to keep their beautiful home safe and protected and theirs.

At night she layers extra kisses on each girl’s sweet forehead. The pattering is quiet, old wood floors creaking is silenced. She sits with weary granite bones resting on furniture she bought, in the home she created. She keeps on collecting good memories. She lets the sound of her daughters’ laughter etch into her eardrums so when she whispers so softly to herself can I do this? how can I keep doing this? she finds the strength she needs to lift the concrete in her bones onto the cold wood floors every morning.

But sometimes bombs landed on her beautiful home, shaking the house down to its clapboard walls. Inside, the cacophony of crying reverberates endlessly. She goes from room to room, trying to sooth and contain and reassure. Her sky blue eyes electric with a ferocious, protective anger. She yearns for a bomb shelter instead of the home on Laurel Ave; she yearns for the ability to bring life back to his stone cold heart, to save her precious little girls from the pain they experience every single morning and every single night.

© 2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved