To the Person Who Marked Up This Book of Poetry
By Amy Miller
It's #tbt! Enjoy this great one from SWWIM Every Day's archives!
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 hashbrowns. 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 it its disrepair.
Amy Miller’s Astronauts won the 2022 Chad Walsh Chapbook Prize from Beloit Poetry Journal, and her full-length book, The Trouble with New England Girls, won the 2017 Louis Award from Concrete Wolf Press. Her poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Copper Nickel, Narrative, RHINO, Terrain, Tupelo Quarterly, and ZYZZYVA. She received a 2021 Oregon Literary Fellowship and blogs at writers-island.blogspot.com.
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