by Michael Meyerhoffer

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 fifth book of poems, Ragged Eden, is forthcoming from 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. He is also the author of a fantasy series and Poetry Editor of Atticus Review.