A poem by Alicia Hoffman
One year, a point and click camera plus exposure
to the whitewash of bright June captured
what I thought to be a cross clearly descending.
I believed in benediction, then. Now, I am
more likely to bend at the altar of the Higgs-Boson,
or that old standby, E=MC2. Quark and mass
flashing faster than the speed of light through
the labyrinthine CERN, snowfield of atoms, the cosmic
bang. Swiss scientists say energy certainly can’t be
created nor destroyed, but I’ve lost it somewhere
between the last breath and the last word. Now, I am
a body. Now, a wave. Now, the observer of a crash.
Black matter is any matter I do not understand.
I find myself awakening into a mass. I find myself
walking past the hall to an office. I find myself sitting
at a desk. Funny, how a body can be both the thing it is
and absent from it. There is so much darkness here.
I have salvaged the old photograph from my mother’s
house. I have found myself saying this has always
been my favorite. Was it? I do not recall any moment
but this: A whitewashed frame, the small planets
of marigolds still in their orbit of cornstalks, bushels
of beans, the day thick as a drip of cold molasses gone
crystal in a curved jelly jar, the impossible rood of sky.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Alicia Hoffman now lives, writes and teaches in Rochester, New York. Author of “Like Stardust in the Peat Moss” (Aldrich Press, 2013), her poems have appeared in Tar River Poetry, Word Riot, Radar Poetry, Watershed Review, Redactions, SOFTBLOW, A-Minor Magazine, and elsewhere. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, she holds an MFA in Poetry from the Rainier Writing Workshop.