Driving Through Maspeth, NY, After Teaching an Introduction to Creative Writing Class

Sun squints off the side 
of a delivery truck 

like whisky poured 
over a glass of ice

in the Sexton poem where she 
is not dead but death’s 

opposite, being 
born and born. Repetition

is the music of memory
but it is also the petition of the dead,

always a place
where the steam from the factories

is the steam from the factory
of girlhood whose gift

you do not yet
know. The doll

in the poem is desire
and terror. You know this

from life, from the forest
in which the terrible 

thing that happened scratches 
the film of memory 

into the unbearable
static. You were not born

kneeling. The doll is no longer
before the thing 

that happens 
which can never be taken back.

Copyright © 2024 by Carlie Hoffman. Used with the permission of the author.