Michael Meyerhofer


I remember how startled I was –
not by the dog’s teeth
gleaming like pearls in the dark,
nor even his low growl
that set my bones quivering
as though I were being
asked yet again to explain
my limp and missing half-ear,
what went on in the nurse’s office
once they locked the door.

But no, this was a porch
buttressed in snowdrifts,
back from watching Christ hang
naked before a sea of jackets,
when a gigantic black lab
who’d never gnawed anything
but Frisbees all of a sudden
set to tear my face off,
flexing nails my tiny knuckles
could not have countered.

That frame of stillness
like a gun after it’s cocked –
then my grandmother shoved me
behind her, turning her body
into my shield-wall,
and though I was no hero,
no knight with a super-heated
plasma-sword, I knew
for now, I was safe. Tonight,
I would not be touched.

Michael Meyerhofer‘s fifth poetry book, Ragged Eden, was published by Glass Lyre Press. He has been the recipient of the James Wright Poetry Award, the Liam Rector First Book Award, the Brick Road Poetry Book Prize, and other honors. His work has appeared in Southern Review, The Sun, Ploughshares, Rattle, Hayden’s Ferry, Gargoyle Magazine, Missouri Review, and other journals. He is also the author of a fantasy series and the Poetry Editor of Atticus Review. For more information and an embarrassing childhood photo, visit www.troublewithhammers.com.