I decided to take your advice
on my poem. The penultimate stanza
has been shifted to the end.
I now describe the Jehovah’s Witness
using third-person omniscient.
You were right, by the way,
about my reference to Theodote,
not to mention that line
about eating a plate of hot wings
just to try and feel something.
Yes, Iowa really does have dogwoods.
Yes, Yo-Yo Ma really forgot
his own cello in a Manhattan cab.
But I meant it as a compliment
when I called you ergonomic.
No, you’re right about me
needing to think less about circumcision
and more about white dwarf stars,
which are really just diamonds
ringing like Tibetan gongs in the deep.
Even so, I want to tell you
about the hiccup in my aorta
when you stretched tonight, your thumb
between stanzas, nose-ring
catching the moon… well, just so.
*This poem was previously published in Rosebud.
I spent most of this day trying to decide
whether life is more like a lacuna or a palimpsest
when I realized I would be better served
at that bar down the street—the one
with swords and deer skulls hung on the wall,
the pretty waitress who has never heard
of J. Alfred Prufrock, retired old men
propped against their pipes and beer steins.
I confess, I find it hard to mourn
the loss of polar bears without first toasting
the extinction of soda jerks and Christ,
the fact that what happens in poetry
still stays in poetry, Vegas be damned.
And the bearded boy from my Comp class
who stalled a bullet with his skull,
who left more than his heart in Afghanistan.
Let there be pretzels and microwave brats.
Let there be coasters for Irish beer
imported from some factory in China.
Let there be cigars that go well with cognac
in a town that serves no cognac,
one shot called the Mind Eraser followed
by another called the Non-Metaphorical Sunset
and its sour chaser, All We’d Die to Forget.
*This poem was previously published in Millennium Writings.
Michael Meyerhofer’s second book, Blue Collar Eulogies, was published by Steel Toe Books. His first, Leaving Iowa, won the Liam Rector First Book Award. He has also won the Marjorie J. Wilson Best Poem Contest, the James Wright Poetry Award, the Laureate Prize, and the Annie Finch Prize for Poetry. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, North American Review, Arts & Letters, River Styx, Quick Fiction and other journals, and can be read online here.