In Place of a Third Eye
For one whole year before language,
people were born with a third hand
dangling from their foreheads.
Too weak to point, let alone grasp
or fight. Whenever they slept,
those extra fingers formed fists
the size of box turtles. Awake,
they splayed like sad little erections
until men and women alike went
down to the river to soak them.
On the Argument that Chickens are Walking Flowers
Always some smug bastard
like me has to point out the one
that lived a year with its head
cut off, fed with an eyedropper
as it went on pacing barn yards
and circus tents, pecking
as though it still had a beak
and eyes like matching coal sacks.
Then someone points out
a rooster’s capacity for recognizing
its own name, the way
orchids need neither ears nor
a brainstem to appreciate Mozart.
The way the blind man smiling
on the park bench seems
just a little bit closer to God.
Something Awful is Going to Happen
the day we run out of puppet shows.
No more dalliance of sackcloth and taut string,
near-surgical precision of wrists,
thrown voices, whatever magic it takes
to make you forget those faces looming
God-like over their own homespun children.
Imagine the day they fold the last one
in a monogrammed box, legs limp
as cooked spaghetti, marble eyes wide
and dark as all the ages before and after.
It Never Does
Priests of my childhood
spoke of paradise like a riptide,
a whitewash, trying perhaps
to slingshot out of reach
that spidery sidewalk we called
doubt. Meanwhile, cedars yawned
in snowy repose and I thought
that maybe someday, when our bones
spoon a grown man’s height
below the topsoil,
all this would make sense.
Michael Meyerhofer’s fourth book of poems, What To Do If You’re Buried Alive, was published by Split Lip Press. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Hayden’s Ferry, Rattle, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, DIAGRAM, and other journals. He’s also the author of a fantasy series and serves as Poetry Editor of Atticus Review. For more information and an embarrassing childhood photo, please visit troublewithhammers.com.