The pleasures of the streets, perfumed with hazelnuts
and cheese, medieval rivers, edges reduced
to ice. Of walking irregular stones,
past the silent, frustrated dead,
in black shoes with laces.
As we pass, my eyes meet his (same sad
longing) (same fear
Mother and Father still reign, from another kingdom.
Winter like milk. We liberate our legs
from pain. He touches my pelvis,
trying to extract some knowledge from touch.
The smells of our terrestrial systems
fill the room.
Richie Hofmann is the author of a collection of poems, Second Empire. A 2017-19 Wallace Stegner Fellow, he is now Jones Lecturer in Poetry at Stanford University.
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“O.” appeared in TLR: Contents May Shift (Summer, 2020)