Poetry is rarely used in windy nations as it can cause significant property damage when torn from the owner’s grasp. You can still see it in the Vatican, though, on the pope’s coat of arms, or everywhere in European paintings. Though poetry is popular in the U.S., evidence at Nineveh suggests it appeared much earlier in the Middle East. Poetry has been used to defend against the heat, as a symbol of status and grace, and most recently, to protect the bearer from rain. Just think: before poetry, you had to wait indefinitely by the door for the clouds to stop roiling. Nowadays, in case of wind, most people leave their poems on the hooks next to their spring jackets and merely hood themselves against the loud, inconvenient storm. There are also legends of spies disguising their weapons as poems, a bit of steel or a blast of lead blossoming wild from that silky nest, felling whomever failed to respect the might of words.

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