Erika Hodges

37 stages


There are actually 37 stages of grief which are as follows:

Braided intestines
Now in your throat
Icy fingernails
Embering heat behind the cheekbones I got from you
All again
Miss you
Miss you can’t be in here Maybe I’ll wake up
Not at all
Fine. Fine. Shrug
Dirty back of teeth
That candle was a wish for you to exist somehow
Never who
Tunnel corners
Ein Sof


This piece is a sound poetry piece written and composed by while in quarantine. I spent the last few months inside my Brooklyn apartment listening to the endless sirens and walked past the hospitals with reappropriated ice cream trucks loading corpses into them from the stretchers on the ER bays. My father died on a ventilator a few years ago and because of extenuating circumstances I was not able to be with him at the time of his death. I listened to him die over the phone. I was also not able to have a funeral for him. My experience with death is now so many others’ experience with death because of COVID. and so this poem that I wrote after my father died is now extended through this sound piece to all the grieving families that are not able to access their grief because of distancing orders. A collective offering of mourning together.


Erika Hodges is a gender expansive poet and performance artist living and breathing in Brooklyn, NY. They are a graduate of Naropa University and an MFA candidate at Pratt Institute where they are the current Leslie Scalapino Fellow. Their work can be found or is forthcoming at Flag + Void, CALYX, The Adirondack Review, The Poetry Project and others. They are a 2020 Can Serrat residency fellow as well as a Brooklyn Poets Fellow. They are also the 2020 Rougarou Poetry Contest winner. Erika is a volunteer at The Poetry Project as well as a poet’s assistant and archivist for elder poets in the community. Their work and life is deeply devoted to queer love, troubling the dystopian values of borders and binaries and the ideas of poetry and lineage as a sort of home.

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