by Michael Meyerhoffer

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 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.