Never so-and-so passed on, abruptly soft-voiced like a kid describing how his best friend failed his driving test. Instead, blunt. Always blunt. An army buddy who sipped his shotgun as casually as he steered his tractor, a sister whittled to ash by cancer, a rosary of unnamed stillborns. This from a generation of dress-and-fedora church-goers, from an age when the only kind of social networking involved beer or lemonade and long talks as the sun went down. No apologies, no genuflecting to cemetery headstones. Just a report, clipped as an Old West telegraph. Family attacked by hostiles, stop. All killed, stop. Chickens spared and are being cared for, stop. Wire if you want to see the bodies, stop.
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 won the James Wright Poetry Award, the Laureate Prize, the Annie Finch Prize for Poetry, the Marjorie J. Wilson Best Poem Contest, and five chapbook prizes. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, North American Review, Arts & Letters, River Styx, Quick Fiction and other journals, and can be read online at www.troublewithhammers.com. He is the Poetry Editor of Atticus Review.