Michael Meyerhofer, "The First Law of Thermodynamics"



Dig too far and you’ll find the shards
of something ancient, stacked like Rome
and San Francisco on the crust
of ancestors: streets capping ruins,
ziggurat plus bazaar equals taco stand.
Sooner or later, all the cloisters
in your abbey become eligible
for an upgrade. All you have to do
is peel back your bedroom wallpaper
and you’ll find a whole tiramisu
of lost history. Remember,
atoms are just bags of cowbells—
electrons, leptons, quarks,
the sparkler lifespan of the mayfly.
How many cowbells in a tulip,
a woolly rhino, a taxidermist, cowbells
sloughing through the pastures
of Tel Aviv, tin song that used to be
my mother now recycling that anthem
of hay and flies and runaway sun.


Michael Meyerhofer’s third book, Damnatio Memoriae, won the Brick Road Poetry Book Contest.  His previous books are Blue Collar Eulogies (Steel Toe Books) and Leaving Iowa (winner of the Liam Rector First Book Award).  He has also published five chapbooks and is the Poetry Editor of Atticus Review.