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Amanda Hope

With Orthography and Insufficient Postage


Thank you for teaching me all those German words for grief, making sure that I pronounced each one correctly. It was as though you knew that someone had just asked me to sit beside her and hold her as she drank the hemlock (it wasn’t a question that could be answered with a yes or a no, or even a question at all.) But if I say Rumpelstiltskin’s name three times, he has to relinquish his hold on my throat—doesn’t he? The only alphabet I can remember how to write is Greek, but the German words don’t transliterate properly. I tried to put an umlaut over an eta and it just made the most sorrowful face. It was patient of you to wait while I helped my aunts serve the meal at the ruined estate. Remember when I forbade you to call me by their nickname for me? Three letters that mean uncertainty, three letters that mean a knobby, buried thing. Will you humor me with a slanted truth? Call me by the letters that mean worthy, or call me




the world has gotten over us

the sun stretches itself out

in empty cafes

like an ex

who doesn’t recognize your number

adolescent trees widen

the cracks in the blacktop

growing up around our interruptions

our feeble architecture

happily tenanted

the bark of beeches

expands, erasing

each generation’s carved initials,

routine, the way I wash my dishes


Amanda Hope lives in eastern Massachusetts with her partner and cats. A graduate of Colgate University and Simmons College, she works as a librarian. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Salamander, The Lily Poetry Review, The Hellebore, Mason Street Review, and more. Her chapbook, The Museum of Resentments, was published by Paper Nautilus in 2020. You can find more information about her work at her website,

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