hangover eyes

You always have hangover sad eyes in the morning

I’m left trying to figure out me and how to respond

Do I feel guilty for providing my body –

another one of your vices?

Do I feel shame you can’t wake with the same glint in your eyes

when the vodka is gone?

when you see me next to you in the morning?

Do I feel embarrassment

you find me sour like the hangover that plagues you all day?

Maybe I could take your sweet nothings you whispered to me while we fucked –

sew them into the lining of my purse

Maybe I could photograph the way your eyes lit up last night –

tint it into sepia for the faded and timeless effect

So when I’m filled with doubt and

my own bitter regret

I can pretend

this was a timeless affair

this was an aftershock for both of us

this was real



This is how you’ll do it….

  1. find yourself deep in the woods and stop. look up. look around. look at how the forrest makes space for trees newly growing and nearly dead. one feeds the other and there is no question about what comes next or if it was all worth it. drop those thoughts among the discarded branches and decaying logs. even that old stump rotting from the inside out has purpose and a place in those woods.
  2. put down that bottle and let your veins flow with the sadness and pain that needs to flow through you, to flow out of you. never question if you can survive this. you are a warrior. you are a sage with wisdom gained from all those other times you felt yourself split into two. felt yourself splinter into a million pieces. realize you are both caterpillar and butterfly. both ashes and phoenix. remember the beauty when you spread your wings again and fly. remember every birth is just another rebirth and you keep choosing life.
  3. tell your tears you need to keep your salt now. you are no longer able to water the earth. nourish yourself. let the wind chap your face and the sun caress your shoulders the way he used to, just the way you liked. and know this, remember this. that with or without the warmth of the sun shining directly on you, you will always keep growing. you are more resilient than the hostas that lined your childhood home. you have pushed life from your own body. you have had men – both welcomed and invasive, try to chip away the pieces of you they found beautiful and keep them like you are a souvenir. and you did not let them. just like you will not let this heartache be anything more than transient, anything less than necessary.
  4. breathe. again and again and again. put out the cigarette. fill your lungs with air that no longer smells of him. know this is ok. inhale the perfume from your mother’s dresser you needed to stand on a chair to reach. stand tall and proud.  exhale. you no longer need to hold your breath. you have bones stronger than granite, passed down generations for occasions just like this.
  5. look up to the constellations. remember you are never alone. use this earth as your guide. he was never your compass and you were never lost. listen to how the moon and the ocean dance at night. cast all this resentment, self-doubt, pity, out to sea. be tidal in your forgiveness. do not forget that sand must be tumbled without mercy, repeatedly, to soften.


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved


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


You leave me behind in my sadness alone, completely alone, because you can’t handle conflict and you won’t do it so you’ll try to wait it out – you seem to think there’ll be an end in sight and perhaps there’ll still be an us when you come back, perhaps there’ll still be a me to come back to… but each time you tiptoe away and leave me hanging on that precipice of us – all by myself, you must not see all the tiny rocks of me falling… falling and falling away from me, out of me… and so I can’t promise you anything or that there’ll be anything to come back to if you keep leaving me alone in my sadness. Because you’re causing it and I’m falling apart for no good reason, and while you asked me not to give up on you, on us… while you reassured me you’re trying to work your way to me… i still feel all alone on this cliff i climbed – thinking you’d be there waiting … but instead you’re with her.



© 2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved


The clouds were working in collaboration with my body today – rolling through my veins – nebulous and grey and overwhelming…

Everything about my being is always so overwhelming and I’ll overtake you if you don’t find protection, if you don’t stay safely tucked away in your past love {I know she’s still your shelter}…

My bones crack louder than thunder when adjusting to you and even when my eyes light up like lightning electrifying the sky, I’ll try so damn hard not to burn you down  {please go away and stay hidden beneath her trees}…



©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved


Get lost in the woods –

let the unwavering hospitality cradle your

wild ideas and secrets and tears and imaginations

Listen to the woods

floors lined with leaves living and dying in unison –

holding it’s own breath, holding yours

Let the woods compost your fears and words unsaid

into buckthorn or wild ginger or

ideas so wild they

escape through the breaks in the trees



©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved


he first fell in love with the way she smelled, next it was the way her smile overtook her slender face when her eyes caught his. years after she left this earth ahead of him, he still traced the halls of their apartment for any faint lingering of her. In his final days, he smiled like he a knew a secret, like he knew he would soon watch her face light up as her eyes found his again.


©2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved