Michael Meyerhofer


One of our last afternoons together
you were trying to explain something:

how in your old LA neighborhood
whenever someone died, family

and friends would construct an altar
of candles, pictures and poems

overlooking the stained concrete
where they fell—how after awhile

you said, so many altars flickered
across lawns, streets and curbs

that from the air, they must look
like constellations. You said

you wondered what they made:
just as I wonder now about

the roses left naked and tattered
in the ditch, the lights that go

untended as our own conversations
turn inevitably to other things.

I would like to say we tattooed
your body like a hunter across the sky

but at best we leave you
an hourglass of cooling stars

as we take the pens for ourselves,
living exactly as you would have us.


This is a poem I was inspired to write while attending a memorial reading for Roxana. It had been about five months since we lost her, but as the rest of the poets in the SIU workshop came together to reminisce on her work, we realized again just how greatly her loss affected us—not to mention the loss of a great young poet to the literary community.