• Maze I

    Richie Hofmann

    Spring 2024

         Room of flowers,
                room of hunger: the hours
    I could sleep inside.

         There was something I wanted
                          my life to be. Room
    in which I possessed someone

          and was in turn possessed.
    Rooms in which I reached for a man,
                even when he

          was with someone else.
                          Once I was so scared,
    I slept in my shoes.

          Another time, I stood knee-deep
    in chlorinated water
                and thought I’d be lost

          forever: the graffiti
                            unintelligible, the smell
          of cigarettes, the foreign tongues.

         Still, the jets of the whirlpool pulsated.
                                      I dried off; I made
                the damp towel a pillow.

               The crowded rooms
    of the bars made them cool.
          Young people were shouting

                                      into my ears.
                            I was growing up,
    like them and not

                            like them.
               In the tall mirror,
    I could see my back.

    Richie Hofmann is the author of two collections of poems, Second Empire and A Hundred Lovers.

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