by Erin Hoover

I shield my eyes with my arm and drive
to the hospital. An inch or two of snow
fallen each of these last nights.Unable to melt at four below, it reels again
over the landscape, polishing the hills
to white glass, so they don’t reflect lightso much as shove it back at the sun.
On her deathbed, the woman
who bequeathed me the blue carveof my eye sockets. Last night on the train,
I watched people towel dry dishes
through their windows, shovel single-file

paths in the snow. The wilderness
outside mirrored in the yellow glare
of kitchens, porch lamps, cold fact that here

cannot be there, or there, here. Not even
love can make me into her.
When I was a child, we watched

“Peter and the Wolf,” cadre of French horns
swelling at the wolf’s approach. Now it’s
“Cinnamon Girl,” the song my father left

in the car CD player, turning to shorthand
for what is about to happen. I stand crisp
at her bedside, hands clasping the rail

like a ship at sea. It is her turn—as though
there were a plan, always someone
older or younger lined up for this great

and stupid march. A valve calcified
between the chambers of her heart,
she says, How can someone suffer

this much and still live? I have no answer.
Out in this wilderness, I know only
brilliant light, bracing wind.


Erin Hoover is a poet living in Tallahassee, Florida and a Ph.D. student in Florida State University’s Creative Writing Program. Erin has writing published or forthcoming in SPECS, Division Leap, The Nervous Breakdown, and Spry. Erin is also the founder and former co-director of Late Night Library, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting writers early in their careers.


2 thoughts on “Wilderness

  1. Michael Thomas Ellis says:

    I read an awful lot of poetry, a lot of it awful, not worth the time spent on it. This was time well spent. Three times read, and I’m certain there will be a fourth.


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