The National Poetry Review

Michael Meyerhofer


Probably you’ll never know
that I wrote this especially for you.
First, I’m sorry—shouldn’t
we always say that
when we can’t undress ourselves?
I won’t be offended if you flinch
at my cockeyed toes
and missing ear, a pantheon
of scars I can’t explain. Strange
to be there with you
and also, to not be there. Still,
thank you for your service
though I bet it strains you
even later, driving to the coast
where the sun twists itself
into a burning lollipop.
I hope your salary is adequate,
that someone makes you feel
like a helium balloon
rising out an open window.
Don’t feel bad if you miss a button.
Thank you for your hands,
how they did what I could not.



We head into the bedroom to make love
but first you hang up your nightgown,

light some candles, place your socks
in the hamper, turn down the blankets,

remind me to remind you to call so-and-so,
and pause at the edge of the bed

to show me a scar on your knee
from a bike spill when you were nine,

so that by now, stone has turned
back to sand and you don’t understand

why I feel the need to cuddle first,
aren’t I ready the way you are, don’t men

always keep a part of themselves
oiled and eager and humming?

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 many journals including Hayden’s Ferry, Rattle, Brevity, Tupelo Quarterly, and Ploughshares. 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

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