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The Man With Six Hands and Other Poems, by Michael Meyerhofer

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THE MAN WITH SIX HANDS

May not have seen
the face of God
but he made a wicked
swimmer, so many
chlorinated molecules passing
between his fingers
that he blurred
towards the finish line
where a blue-
eyed sweetheart
with brothers in the war
smiled and knelt as
she held the towel open.

THE CHICKEN: A CHARACTER STUDY

She turns this way and that,
dark eyes sweeping over those cold
storefront windows, mannequins
who seem happy just to be
wearing hats, and wonders why
she listened to that recurring voice
compelled her, yes, to cross the street,
as though asphalt miraculously free
of traffic were not a road at all
but the river Lethe and one
side genuinely differs from the other
in some important way
related somehow to feathers,
maybe, and the way they bend
just before they lift off the pavement.

ON MEMORY

The first woman I married
in the exaggerated reality of poems
once left me a voicemail
in which she sneezed
before she had a chance to talk
and even though we grew
to hate each other,
I still think of that and smile,
remembering how I listened to it
probably a hundred times
before she switched time zones
and I switched phone plans.
Of course, none of this matters
in the grand socioeconomic sense–
any more than the memory
of staring down a bully in third grade,
realizing I could push him down
the stairs, only to walk away,
him smiling, part of me
knotted forever to the past.

A NEWBORN PHOTO OF THE EARTH

Imagine a potato the size of Arizona, stuffed not with chives but iron ore, floating in space without the faintest nub of greenery. So many millennia before enough asteroids smacked into it, raw rock made hot enough to fuse, leaving craters like open sores, proof of what should have been obvious the first time you tamped down soil over as bland a thing as a seed from whence came an iris, an orchid, a bird of paradise.

UNRESOLVED

My grandpa kept a pair of orange horses
in this ruined cornfield behind the trees.

I don’t know why. It only lasted one summer,
nobody ever rode them and everybody

I might have asked has long since died.
But I still remember watching them

from a distance, awed by their tangerine
throats, the way they seemed a bit related

to sunlight, though I knew better
than to approach. Something in the way

they raked the earth, tilting their ears
whenever someone like me got too close.

ALGEBRA TAUGHT ME NOTHING

plus nothing equals more
Nothing. Still,
When winter paws
the windows, our limbs
by some instinct
older than words know
to press, to tangle
like a celtic knot,
fractals of dark matter,
both shivering yet warm
to the other’s touch.

Michael Meyerhofer’s fourth book of poems, What To Do If You’re Buried Alive, was published by Split Lip Press. His third, Damnatio Memoriae (lit. “damned memory”), won the Brick Road Poetry Book Contest. He’s also the author of a fantasy series and serves as Poetry Editor of Atticus Review. For more information, plus at least one embarrassing childhood photo, please visit troublewithhammers.com.

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