Numen – a poem by Alicia Hoffman


Everywhere has it. A gleam. A slant. An answer
to a question no one has thought to ask. Look

into the sheer-faced eye of any cliff. A monument
to observance. Any city street is a template of behavior.

Human to human, I must admit my hesitance. Firm 
progress and constant growth went out the window

and we never caught the memo. We never paused 
to stare out the glass and catch the light as it bends

and circles and refracts through the cirrus clouds
into an infinitude of sublimation. Prismatic. Cutting.
Like straight through the heart mind-blowing. Pity,
how we screen-timed the journey. How our passage 

was a blip in time like a small microchip in a smart 
watch we learned how to take in, ingest, forgetting 

how to feel the spirit of this place, the way it travels 
laser focused, pinpointed through us, like a surgeon

with his scalpel or a capitalist with his wealth. I hope 
soon we can stop what we are doing and see this for 

what it really is—this incredulous expansiveness. This 
awe and sum an equation multiplying with every yes.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Alicia Hoffman now lives, writes, and teaches in Rochester, New York. She is the author of three collections, most recently ANIMAL (Futurecycle Press). Her poems can be found in a variety of publications, including The Atticus Review, The Rise Up Review, The Night Heron Barks, SWWIM, The Penn Review, Typishly, and elsewhere. Find her at:

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