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1: Richie Hofmann

Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language.

Reconciliation

by Richie Hofmann

I was told that she had traveled to the cemetery in Camden,
not far from our family home, and snipped a vine at the entrance
to Whitman’s tomb. She pressed it between the pages
of an early edition of Leaves of Grass to keep her place.
……………………………………………………………………………I do not know
where this book was lost, though I see it now: the twin boards
of its cover, burnt orange and green and gold in her lap; now
……………………………………………………………………………………trace
a finger along the contours of the portrait—the mouth, face,
the hat, eyes faint from behind the crinkled glassine,
as through the old window that is time.
………………………………………………………I only know
the heat of the morning we returned her to the earth:
the salt and brine pushed back, which, as children, claimed
our feet; the sea-grass dry as lavender where it sprouted;

and when my father’s uncle scattered the ash of her body on seawater,
the dim kiss of dust—


Copyright © 2012 by Richie Hofmann. This poem was originally published in The Southern Review (Summer 2012).


About the Author

Richie HofmannRichie Hofmann is the author of two books of poems, A Hundred Lovers (2022) and Second Empire (2015). His poetry appears recently in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Review of Books, and The Yale Review, and has been honored with the Ruth Lilly and Wallace Stegner fellowships. Work from a new manuscript is forthcoming in Poetry and The Paris Review. He lives in Chicago.

Queer Poem a Day graphic

Queer Poem a Day: Lineage Edition


Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this third year of our series is the AIDS Ward Scherzo by Robert Savage, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission.

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