Can you believe cancer starts as a cell misfiring, stray
bullet to start a war?
The tumor is a red moon rising, swollen crater at the
heart of war.
The highest frequency of grief is blameless, insomnia and
a broken wail,
The best you can do is bear witness, learn to make
art from war.
Heaven is a field of ghosts who never stopped
They rush forward as a tide to catch what’s strewn
apart from war.
Wash the sigh from the voicemail, hang the
wince by the door
You can dodge the draft but you’ll never
outsmart the war.
Forever my mother’s voice calling, Joanna,
where are you sweetheart? With you, at war.
Joanna Hoffman is a poet and teaching artist living in Brooklyn, New York. Her full-length book of poetry, Running for Trap Doors (Sibling Rivalry Press) was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award and featured in the American Library Association's list of recommended LGBT reading for 2014. In 2015, she was honored by the (Obama) White House as a Champion for Change for LGBTQ advocacy through art. Her work has appeared in Upworthy, Buzzfeed, Winter Tangerine, decomP, PANK, The Offing, Union Station Magazine, The Legendary, Sinister Wisdom and in the Write Bloody Publishing anthologies We Will be Shelter and Multiverse. You can find her at www.joannahoffman.com.