Michael Meyerhofer

The First Person Who Saw Gold

The Victor by Marianne Werefkin

Probably they thought of the sun,
sure, and wondered if maybe
having a little of that in their pocket
would take the sting out of night,
night which can only be held
at bay by setting something on fire.
Or else they thought of the darkness
left under their fingernails
after field work and wondered
if hunger could be nullified simply
by crowning their knuckles
with a lustrous fragment of sky.
They would never know, as we do,
that it comes from supernovas
and has little to do with wheat,
let alone what nests in the ribcage.
Still, I picture them staring a while,
palming a flint-knife or a chisel
made of bone and wondering
in such a sacred, wild place if some
things are better left untouched,
right before they started to scrape.


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: The Victor by Marianne von Werefkin (1860-1838). No medium specified. No size specified. Before 1939. Public domain.