portion of the artwork for Michael Meyerhofer's poetry

Michael Meyerhofer

First time I heard the word
was in social studies,
fifth grade, used to explain
how men with cockeyed crosses
on their sleeves got rid
every day, each hour,
of more bodies than existed
in our entire farm town,
as though a match
held to the hand that lifted
Tami’s skirt on the playground
might make it flare up
like a forsaken marshmallow,
like if we leaned too close
to the stove kettle,
we’d crisp up like the dry leaves
we spent hours shushing
into piles—so many colors—
and none of them safe
from the revelation I still
carry like a backpack, never
mind what they said in science:
we are trees, paper. We burn.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 53 | Spring/Summer 2019