Poem of the Week | February 08, 2021

This week’s Poem of the Week is “Writing Prompt in Which You Create a Character Out of Someone You Know” by Carlie Hoffman!

Carlie Hoffman is the author of two forthcoming poetry collections, This Alaska (Four Way Books, 2021) and Only if We Stay (Four Way Books, 2023). A poet and translator, her honors include a 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize and a Poet’s & Writer’s Amy Award. Her work appears in Gulf Coast, New England Review, Boston Review, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. Carlie is the Editor-in-Chief of Small Orange Journal.


Writing Prompt in Which You Create a Character Out of Someone You Know


Every day he sleeps lying down
on his stomach, wearing blue jeans.
His room smells of bird shit
from the parakeet. He doesn’t leave the house,
except to go on long drives in the afternoon,
but he doesn’t say where. We don’t have
each other’s phone numbers.


Better to sever the tongue and place
the strawberry muscle in a bowl blown
from sea glass, the way a person
punctuates the end of her sentence.


In silence my father and I drink
from the same glasses that will be rinsed
under the cold and running water.