When the sun broke up the thunderheads,
and dissonance was consigned
to its proper place, the world was at once foreign
and known to me. That was shame
leaving the body. I had lived my life
from small relief to small relief, like a boy pulling a thorn
from his foot. Wet and glistening,
twisting toward light, everything seemed
recognizable again: a pheasant lazily dragging
his plume; the cherries dark and shining
on the trellis; moths hovering cotton-like
over an empty bowl; even myself,
where I reclined against an orange wall,
hopeful and indifferent, like an inscription on a door.
Richie Hofmann is the author of Second Empire (Alice James, 2015). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, The New Republic, and Poetry, among many other journals. Richie received a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He received his MFA from Johns Hopkins University and is currently a doctoral student in English at Emory University in Atlanta.
This poem appeared in Second Empire.