The Egyptian forerunner of poetry consisted of glass globes filled with water, a kind of magic in how it bent words and made them appear larger. Later, sailors used simple poems to watch out for pirates or sea serpents, and by the time they became something we would recognize today, they were in the hands of monks who were the only ones who could read back then. Eventually, Ben Franklin who could not see without poetry improved further on the design and even displayed his work in portraits. Now, fashion designers make poems that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. For the poor, there remain cheaper alternatives though such poems are often thicker, clunky, and more likely to draw stares as you walk down the street, past the bank and the park, right past your bus stop, marveling at the crisp imagery of the world as though seeing it, pardon the cliché, for the first time.

MICHAEL MEYERHOFER’s third book, Damnatio Memoriae, won the Brick Road Poetry Book Contest. His previous books are Blue Collar Eulogies (Steel Toe Books) and Leaving Iowa (winner of the Liam Rector First Book Award). He has also published five chapbooks and is the Poetry Editor of Atticus Review. For more information, visit troublewithhammers.com.