Madeline Hof

I let the sign say River Rentals
it didn’t make sense, we were nowhere near water
who would rent anything river needed that far away?
I knew it didn’t make sense, but it didn’t matter to me
I was in my shapeshifting home by the river
the people inside I made and loved
or sometimes they made me

But the love stayed regardless and in that home, no one hurt
we’d wake early in the mornings and eat like queens
at night, we’d sit by the fire
reading books both dog-eared and yellowed
we did as we pleased and came as we were
Joni Mitchell sang sad songs from the stereo
and we sang along only in irony 

It was a one-dimensional dream, but it made me happy
I could sit and smoke and think and be
by the river
at night it was the only sign aglow
the church to the right, River Rentals to the left
as far as I could see down Port 

One day I told him about the river
invited him into my home
I think that’s an N, not a V
he wasn’t wrong
I’d known I was mistaken, but I hadn’t known what was right
something about the confirmation ruined it for me
he kicked me out of my house
unknowingly, easily, with a laugh in his throat
that river never flowed again

About the Author

Madeline Hof is a writer from Falls Church, Virginia. She is currently completing a master’s at New York University in XE.