portion of the artwork for Michael Meyerhofer's poetry

Nothing Puckers into Nothing
Michael Meyerhofer

Let’s say you’re just starting out
and your teacher already says
you have to read this poem
by a dead guy who probably isn’t me.
And you’re not sure what to do
about these strange vowels,
how to steer your tongue
through a jungle-maze of consonants
and then, line after line
that doesn’t even seem special,
just stuff about flowers
and their waving shadows
then a bit about politics
and a woman on a cold beach
untangling her wet hair.
It’s strange, isn’t it, that we’re all
going to die. Probably
I never really bought it,
wasted my time trying to impress
the clouds enough to stop
shrugging from sails into swords.
I wish I could talk to you
about burning cop cars
and the absurdity of bullets,
then those schools of herrings
looping through rusty shipwrecks,
but have you ever flattened out
a wrinkle in a tablecloth?
Forget I told you good news.
Listen, the emptiness
in an empty glass
became the tongue in your skull
with eighty years to dance.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 56 | Fall/Winter 2020