Girl by featured artist Lora Mathis


      On the San Franciscan Pier,
      the sourdough baguettes align
      in the clear-paned glass,

      swaddled like rows of children
      in a ward. Each loaf a birth
      from the same mother culture –

      warmed, coddled, arisen.

      Spreading the one self
      so thin in order to give.

      Always knowing how dough
      can be kneaded by hand
      to stretch like skin near breaking –

      how it feels to feed both continuous
      and contiguous on the hungry
      mouths that always multiply again.

      Mother, once there must have been
      a young girl in you, wide-eyed
      and full of possibles that rolled
      together must resemble a whole.

      An unhallowed fullness.

      And my mouth works fine.
      And I can taste the pleasant code.

      Bereft of the true bread hidden within
      the deep pockets I hunger when full.
      I tear the animal crust with dust
      in my mouth and continue to chew.


      They say the wine was the blood,
      and the blood was the redemption.

      If you were only one drop on a canvas
      of white my ocean would redden.

      Dogma-ridden and fear-held,
      myopic and always misunderstood.

      My body is a scar on the tracks.
      My body bears the imprints of wolves.

      I want to say forgiven.
      I want to say absolve.

      I want to manifest your bald head
      under the cool running water

      of words or a cold comforting balm.
      These days, you are so pathetically old.

      Asshole. Penis. Mouth.
      So embarrassingly human.

      Monster of memory. Monster
      of guilt. Your fur has come loose

      on the tree and drifts like wind
      into every story I will never tell.


Alicia Hoffman

Originally from Pennsylvania, I now live, write and teach in Rochester, New York. Author of “Like Stardust in the Peat Moss”(Aldrich Press, 2013), my poems have appeared recently in Red Paint Hill Quarterly, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Camroc Press Review, Orange Room Review, Right Hand Pointing, A-Minor Magazine, SOFTBLOW and elsewhere. A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, I am currently pursuing my MFA in Poetry at the Rainier Writer’s Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. Occasionally I blog here: