Second Empire

Richie Hofman


It’s time for another entry in our digital broadside series recognizing poets under thirty years old via poems under thirty lines. This week Richie Hofman brings us the title poem from his upcoming collection.


Second Empire


The water, for once,

unmetaphysical. Stepping over

the stones, you pulling


your shirt over your shoulders.

The flesh-and-

blood that constitutes you


could have been anything and yet


appears before me

as your body. Wading out again,


I am a little white omnivore


in the black water,

inhaling avidly

the absence of shame.


We lie on our backs

with our underwear on.


The soul is an aristocrat.


It disdains the body,

staring through the water

at the suggestion of our human forms.


Richie Hofmann’s first collection of poems, Second Empire, is forthcoming from Alice James Books in November 2015.  He is a doctoral student and Creative Writing Fellow in Poetry at Emory University.