Three Poems by Braden Hofeling

These three poems by Braden Hofeling offer an insight into the poet’s mind in its most raw and ethereal form, serving as a gateway allowing others to wade through his memories and sink into his feelings. He hopes these serve as a reminder to live in the present and take nothing for granted…
by: Braden Hofeling

The clouds are dark and brooding, whipped
swirls the color of nutmeg. It is days
like this I can’t free my head of you and the only
haven is in nature, the park down the street. 

But here is where we first
bought coffee from that vendor. And contemplated
what color the walls should be in the office. Steam
wasn’t the only thing fogging my glasses then.

I remember early mornings, brewing a cupful of my
sweetest Chai for you, how you said love
manifests itself in a plethora of ways, how you
watered my houseplants and I fed your hazelnut 
mutt. We stared out windows then. We dreamed, often.

My feet are picking up speed now. The first droplets are falling.
I can’t count how many acorns I have
squashed, how many branches I have
snapped underfoot with the boots you bought me
last Christmas when we made maple
and orange icing, spiked with bourbon. We were so
clever then. We breathed, like the wind.

The leaves are falling, shades of turmeric,
ginger, cinnamon. I am reminded how you
warmed your hands against the side of the mug and smiled
and something in my heart told me then:
never look away. 
Feverland Limbo

A fever dream brews like
a thunderstorm on the
horizon like
the first drop of hell in an endless
sea of sulfur.

I enter a forest in distress, 
silver needles litter the floor and in the
moonlight I learn the true meaning
of aloneness. I gather them up to brew a tisane 
of sea salt and sorrow, the only flavor in abundance 
in a place as waterless as this. Someone is crying 
but I can't tell if it's me.
The wisps here are butterflies, landing gently on my ears. 
Even though I know I shouldn't, I can't help but follow their trail wherever it takes me.
Finding God in a Church Bathroom

As I wash my hands, a cracked painting of
Jesus stares me down.
He holds a yellowing lamb.

Humming a tune I heard from somewhere,
I pull sheets of rough paper towel.
'Then sings my soul' 

The graffiti on the stall
shows a priest and a boy,
I've heard this joke before. 

'My Savior God to thee' 

The baseboard is riddled with black mold.
“Forgive me father, I can’t help but stare
in awe at all your creations,” I whisper.

'How great thou art' 

Crumpling the wet towels into a crude ball,
I miss the rim of the trashcan. I shrug my shoulders,
and exit through the rusted swinging doors. 

Braden Hofeling is an emerging poet located in Portland, Oregon. He has two self-published collections of poetry out and is hoping to publish his third book through an independent small press. His work has been featured in the Gival press ArLiJo issue 153 journal, Death Rattle’s Penrose Vol. 2, Prometheus Dreaming, Arc Prose magazine and New Note poetry.

Header art by Sulaiman Almawash.

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