SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

To the Person Who Marked Up This Book of Poetry by Amy Miller

I had forgotten about you

until this morning at Denny’s

when I didn’t have enough quarters

for a newspaper and pulled,

instead, this book from my purse,

laid in for such emergencies.

 

And there you were,

asserting your opinions in black ballpoint,

two stars next to the titles

you obviously liked,

crossed-out lines

you seemed to think superfluous—

scratched-off Wasatch,

penned-in mountains.

 

And then the waitress frowned

when I told her no hash browns.

She asked again—no potatoes?

No grits?—as if to correct

this error in the book

of my morning. She scrawled a note

in her own book, lips tight.

 

But she brought me the eggs

and you finally left the poet alone

as he went on to talk

of farmers, as his horse changed leads

on command, and sometimes not.

And it’s hard to tell

whether you simply tired

of the old, old game—

this singular shaping, this lonely work

for the betterment of us all—

or whether the poet won you over,

maybe with those lines on page 40

about chickens and the little

swaybacked shed he can’t

bring himself to knock down,

beautiful in its disrepair.


Amy Miller's writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, Nimrod, Permafrost, Willow Springs, and ZYZZYVA. Her poetry collection, The Trouble with New England Girls, won the Louis Award from Concrete Wolf Press. She lives in Oregon, where she works for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and is the poetry editor of the NPR listening guide Jefferson Journal. She blogs at writers-island.blogspot.com

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