When my sisters can’t scrub the oil
from the sick gull’s feathers, they clip
its wings, untie the cord that binds
the slow sheet of its body
and plant it into a wooden box
drilled with tiny holes. It is my turn
to bring the diseased bird
to the breeder across the bank:
his medicine knives, his hut occupied
with feeders and soap. But because I am
youngest, because a hunter’s moon
is how I locate heaven, I take the gull
down the wharf, kneel in an untouched
tract of snow, and quiet its skull with rock.
Carlie Hoffman is a recipient of a 2016 92Y/Discovery Poetry Prize. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in New England Review, Bennington Review, Boston Review, Narrative, Nashville Review and elsewhere. She is from New Jersey.