Afterwards everything whitened
like paper or breath—
The room was suddenly anchored to itself,
the chains stopped groaning.
I knew I could not leave with you.
The sea outside was like the sea
on the map. A sea-god was blowing
into a crosshatched arc of sails.
Richie Hofmann is the recipient of a 2012 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship. His poems appear or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and Ploughshares, among other journals.