Art by Collin Beck
Love, amputated. How pins and needles feels oddly sensual, a phantom limb, if for only a moment, your body betraying your body. Limp and inescapable. Boneless.
I stopped eating animal flesh when I felt the tendons connecting tissue with my tongue. I was eight years old and my father would never accepted me.
All I could see was pink—I was bathed in cotton candy. Sweet, bitter skin. A plate full of lemons. Any way you slice it, he was dead.
My alabaster peacock, a holographic novel. Novel idea. Novelty. He couldn’t decide which to bury with him. I buried a pink
carcass. Blackened like Mahi, once alive and now charred. Limb
less and unable to fly. A empty bag
made of skin.
Does it ever soften—white hot love searing the flesh, overwhelming is an understatement. My body
became a body became you. We are not separate entities. Something even you understand beneath our
shared skins. Borrowed biology, a genetic refuge. Internal universes. You are my orbiting sun tethered by galaxies, stars glowing behind pinpricked sheets. Brilliance. Light willing light. I am not mine; we exist within one another. Our mothers’ mothers the gatekeepers of fate, roots of fallow. This visceral love, a departed identity. Speak to me in Latin. Love me with an archaic fervor. Primal, before social norms undercut the source of it all. We are navigating roads with heart agape, scouring the continent for life’s true meaning—there was none before you came, beating blue breaths. Tiny lungs, desperate for air. This air, my air. Come back around the earth as small as you are now. You want to jump out of these tiny
limbs, become person. I say, stay, sweet baby. Stay molded into the crevices of my joints forever.
My name is Erica Hoffmeister, and while I'm originally from Southern California, my wandering soul has me currently digging my heels happily in Denver. A graduate of Chapman University's dual MA/MFA program, I have work published or forthcoming in So to Speak, Shark Reef, Rat's Ass Review, Literary Mama, among others. I received an honorable mention for the 2014 Lorian Hemingway prize for short fiction, a finalist for the 2015 Janet B. McCabe poetry prize, and nominated for the 2017 Best of the Net Anthology by Rat's Ass Review. I currently spend my days teaching, writing, and trying to teach my baby daughter Scout all about female badassery.