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Kelly Hoffer


n. a dart, shaft, or arrow. Obs.

my mother’s ring in its box,
on a shelf, in a room
what a box, velvet-lined, what
a ring, a racket to cut
its glimmer comes for me on my
singlet shade
and you dress me in crystal
my ears pierced with sound


n. the plumage or feathers of a bird,
esp. the downy plumage; the downy part of a feather.

not the steering vane. the softer
plume for warmth. apparition favors breaking.
eggs. ochre sap. wax seal on a plum. stem. polly’s pocket.
champagne flute. crown. tension hitting a bank.
fray to fiber. promise? pattern. necks. news.
down. downing. downy chick.
covenant. chicka dee dee dee


n. the raised surface or nap on a fabric

quiet clutter quiet clutter
gently purple moss
velvet has loops has plied thread

achieving lush a line
and then another linelush
brought above the surface and cut
spreading fiber to fruit

have fruit do you have lush
how deep can you press
into the skin
running my hand
in one direction marking

a scape requires
more than one
color of thread put a strand of
tinsel in your nest, a strand
tensile in your proof

drive my bundles
to the junkyard, bring
kerosene for a
lusher flame


n. a heap, stack, or mass.

fustian therefore smoke wherefore fustian loop fustian
fustian here for heretofore loop softness fustian fustian
shimmer a lusher fustian texture fustian tumor a looser
forthwith thread fustian have I my fustian location fustian
mass quadrant have I fustian found my fussy loop to cut


v. trans. to fasten with nails. obs.
to fix or drive (a stake, etc.) in the ground. rare.

my mother planted things
sank them into
earth. round forms.
bulbs. a supplementary
warp makes the ground
softer. velvet. she wasn’t planted
preferred to be burned and cut
open. scattering over root,
dirt caught in a dead drift.


The Claude Glass [a convex tinted mirror]


catalog. art. 1

box of cherry, inlaid with a thin band of lemon
horn frame, pleasing and useful for viewing
eclipses, clouds, landscapes, &c.


catalog. art. 2

“Objects are not presented with that depth, that gradation, that rotundity of distance, if I may so speak, which nature exhibits; but are evidently affected by the two surfaces of the mirror, which give them a flatness, something like the scenes of a play-house, retiring behind each other. The convex-mirror also dim-inishes distances beyond nature, for which the painter should always make proper allowance. Or, to speak perhaps more properly, it inlarges foregrounds beyond their proportion. Thus, if you look at your face in a speculum of this kind, you will see your nose magnified. The retiring parts of your face will appear of course diminished.”

—William Gilpin, Remarks on Forest
Scenery and Other Woodland Views,


catalog. art. 3

ankles in gray water fingers in gray
water the self water a non-portrait
a lake in the palm
features retiring, of course tiring
the clamshell holding its own
split in my pocket pearl-less


catalog. art. 4

varieties of -mancy [“divination by”]

catoptromancy [“mirrors”]
tainomancy [“the foil backing of mirrors”]
palmomancy [“thick ink in the hollow of the hand”]
perspiromancy [“salt trails”]
cartomancy [“cards”]
hydromancy [“water”]
nephomancy [“clouds”]
cucharomancy [“curve of the spoon, speculum of this kind”]
botanomancy [“leaves, herbs, and tree branches”]
retinomancy [“the reflective film of the eyes”]
respiromancy [“intake of breath”]
sophiomancy [“loving, left”]
photomancy [“death masks”]


catalog. art. 5

sharkskin, not marble but obsidian
rounded, shaped as the arc
of a billowing circle, not a sheet
not the film that drapes flat
by table-casting the secret
of applying quicksilver and tin
a tain
of another color a particular stone


catalog. art. 6

a ghost
of the place over my
shoulder. my my what color
are the bands of amaranth pendulous. the showy
hollyhocks brighten their own
faces. a pesky picture always jutting
flits just out of frame the foliage
still growing the trees frighten
as they move giving
the threat of a branch
splayed over a body a shadow
across a face, eyes closed
a body of water
in hand



KELLY HOFFER earned an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her book manuscript ‘Undershore’ was a finalist for the 2020 National Poetry Series and her manuscript ‘Fire Series’ was a finalist for the 2021 National Poetry Series. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Chicago Review, Denver Quarterly, Mississippi Review, Prelude online, The Bennington Review, and Second Factory from ugly duckling presse, among others. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Literatures in English at Cornell University. Learn more at:

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