|OK, fine, I’m not the Chosen One.
I found this platinum sword in a gift shop,
scratched these holy runes with a nail.
My mother was not a mermaid—
barmaid would be more apt. As for Dad,
he knew no more about magic
than he knows about ambrosia farming,
which is why we ate turnips instead.
But there were no barbarians, no torches.
No Etoshi spear skewered my dog.
My sister lost her virtue not to a minotaur,
but the fletcher, both of them bored
and to tell the truth, quite homely, besides.
No scion from the gods led me to you
unless you count the open road,
your window’s hint of bilberry pie.
What are lies, anyway, if not aspiring truths?
Never mind. Close the door, please.
I feel the winter in my bones and I love
the way you polish my sword,
the way you talk of me around the well,
and most of all, how you look at me
when the moon filters through the slats
of this poor, ramshackle castle,
like you think me capable of greatness.
Michael Meyerhofer has published four collections of poetry with two more forthcoming. His work has appeared in Asimov’s, Mythic Delirium, On Spec, Ploughshares, Arts & Letters and others. He says:
“I was thinking of the various cliches in heroic tales; often, heroes seem to be predestined rather than made. I decided to try and write a poem in which the “hero” was only a pretender, motivated not by lust for riches and fame but simple, human loneliness. A “hero” inspired to earn what he has been given, even though his honesty (ironically) might see him stripped of the chance. I also like adding a little humor whenever possible because I think that’s a great way to disarm the reader and leave her or him more open to a serious, underlying point.”