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Night Ferry

From: New England Review
Volume 33, Number 4, 2013
pp. 75-77 | 10.1353/ner.2013.0023

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

I. Night Ferry

Everywhere the city looks over my shoulder.
The air grows colder

and sticks to wet stones, the old houses rescued
from the rising water, even the covered boat where I take refuge

from the wind, still it tousles the pages
of my guidebook. The ferry disengages

from the docks, and I am far away. The Adriatic salts
the undersides of boats

as they depart from the city, fade.
I lean and see what is made

in their wake. I know I will not find my dissolution
here in this city of water and stone,

where I’m a hierophant
to the past. They enchant

me, these things. I always knew
they’d make the veil I’d glimpse things through.

Tonight, distantly, the cold air
comes off the square,

where all those people, bundled in winter coats,
line up to buy tickets for the boats.

Everywhere the city disguises
them from each other. The black ferry moves. The water rises

in the dark.
The people disembark.

II. The Marriage of the Sea

The city remembered nothing of what I dreamed.
Only how strange it seemed

from the water when the Doge’s hand,
or his black glove, opened,

and he released the ring
to wed the Adriatic, and the ring

settled twice:
first, on the lagoon’s surface,

which represented, I thought,
the comfort

of the living moment, and which yielded to the ring; and, later,
in the earth beneath the water,

which was fierce
as history, and which yielded to it also, after many years,

and found stasis in the past,
which was its rest,

not in the luster
of ceremonies, but in the darkness which comes after.

III. Self-Portrait in Venetian Mask

The mask with a long sharp beak
I found, an antique

in a store of relics, displayed
on the wall. The mask I tried on. Like a shade,

it kept me from my life. You, too, have wished
for something else, you have vanished

almost fully, the mask said, as if a mask critiquing
itself could convince me it was not my own mouth speaking.

IV. Serenissima Elegy

The city cleaved things: together
and apart: a bridge restrained one ancient house from another:

the whole city was reflected below
the city: the bridge where they hanged prisoners: the tableau

of bodies held suspended
as on a frieze, splendid

with color and movement: thousands
of bits of glass: small islands

of gold and purple and bronze glued
into images: a pagan nude

with a feather: halos in concentric rings: the rudder
cut its dark path through the water,

pushing wake to either side, as if sorting testimonies of love
from jealousy: from above,

it must have looked like the black canal was rent
apart, halved, no matter where I went.

Richie Hofmann  

Richie Hofmann is the recipient of a 2012 Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, among other honors. His poems have appeared in a number of magazines, including Poetry, FIELD, Yale Review, and the New Yorker. He is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars.

Copyright © 2013 Middlebury College Publications
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Richie Hofmann. "Night Ferry." New England Review 33.4 (2013): 75-77. Project MUSE. Web. 15 Apr. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Hofmann, R.(2013). Night Ferry. New England Review 33(4), 75-77. Middlebury College. Retrieved April 15, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Richie Hofmann. "Night Ferry." New England Review 33, no. 4 (2013): 75-77. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed April 15, 2013).
T1 - Night Ferry
A1 - Richie Hofmann
JF - New England Review
VL - 33
IS - 4
SP - 75
EP - 77
PY - 2013
PB - Middlebury College
SN - 2161-9131
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/new_england_review/v033/33.4.hofmann.html
N1 - Volume 33, Number 4, 2013
ER -


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