Rae Hoffman Jager’s first chapbook, One Throne, was released by Five Oaks Press July of 2017. Rae has been published in a variety of magazines–Ambit, Arsenic Lobster, Leveler, Sport Literate, to name a few. Her work has won two contests and been described as rambunctious, urgent, funny, and elegiac. When she is not writing or reading poems for Rivet, she can be found thinking.
Instead of bonfire,
Instead of camp
about a dead guy.
he left behind
in a limp box, items
that can be torn
a clear memory of his face.
Instead of prayer,
If you could
object to haunt
what would it be—
and how would you
inhabit it– by fire,
hands around the neck?
Nothing can make
you feel better now, friend,
not for a while,
Instead of rot,
what lingers on
on the grave
that receive him.
~Accidentally Crashing a Resort Gathering in Tiberias, Israel where Tourists Read Letters From the Dead
Full on Riesling and St. Peter’s fish,
we stroll down 90, taking in the Galilee
until we find ourselves on a private beach
surrounded by crying tourists
which isn’t uncommon.
Almost everyone who comes to Israel
for the first, second, or third time breaks down
in tears over the same old superstitions—
a wall, a church, a golden dome.
Why should this be any different?
Behind the palms and Astroturf,
the moldy awnings and bloated moon,
one woman separates herself far
from the tour buses and chant-circles,
on a distant rock. We watch her
heave-sob, her sorrow
sanctimonious and ugly.
I wake up at 6am and drink coffee in front of the TV,
watch the latest shooting unfold,
panic in HiDef.
I start my car, go to Red Cross. They hook me up—
one needle in each limb, one in my neck.
Drain me dry, sorrow machine,
until I have nothing left.
The heroes among us
are sucking their thumbs,
not again. Here I go,
rubbing the sheets raw
in my sleep while I practice
and not towards.