Michael Meyerhofer

Phantom Head Syndrome

All Souls by Marianne von Werefkin

Everyone’s talking about the latest kid
made to kneel in the desert so some guy

with a machete can cut his head off,
maybe the tenth such video looping across

the dark ether, and I remember volunteering
for a group that tracked kiddie porn sites

and reported them to the FBI. You can
imagine the result, like Holocaust footage

viewed so many times you hardly flinch
when bulldozers roll past the camera

whisking a pile of heads into a hole.
Talking to another volunteer, this ex-cop

on his umpteenth marriage, I said
the hardest thing for me was the lack

of closure, never knowing who if anyone
makes it out of that human sand trap.

Nah, he said, the worst thing is
sometimes, the damn kids are smiling.


About the writer:
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.

Image: All Souls by Marianne von Werefkin (1860-1838). No medium specified. No size specified. No completion date specified. Public domain.