Richie Hofmann is the author of Second Empire (Alice James Books, 2015). He teaches at Emory University and divides his time between Atlanta and Chicago.
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It was not penitence I sought, standing outside
the bedroom in the old apartment
where you had spent the night alone.
To bend, to kneel before some greater force—
that was no longer what I wished.
Clouds blew in from the coast, and I felt
the sun abandoning the window behind me,
making the bright walls suddenly colorless,
obscuring everything, for a moment,
that I wanted. When I finally entered,
I saw you still asleep—a wet strand
of hair tucked behind your ear, the husk
of your body—and lingered there for a minute,
before walking upstairs to shut the windows.