An exercise poem. The prompt was to use Karin Gottshall’s poem “More Lies” as a palimpsest — a poem on which a new one is closely based in style and structure. In subsequent drafts, the new poem changes to become more itself, and the original becomes more faintly present.


(after Gottshall)

I’ll imagine I’m meeting my lover for lunch —
even though I’ll eat alone again today — just
because it makes me feel better to imagine
a thing like that. I see two lovers meeting

and I want to be them, both of them, in
their anticipation. I’ll have a sausage
and egg sandwich on a soft, powdery
bap and imagine a lover who leans across

the table to kiss stray flour from the corner
of my mouth as I smile, a promise of
what will happen when we’re alone. At
my feet are the things I bought for dinner

in my tote bag with van Gogh’s swirled stars
silkscreened on the side: A bundle of
rosemary tied in a scrap of green ribbon,
white wine, and a chicken breast. I imagine

telling my lover why I chose rosemary
rather than thyme, making a poet’s pun
about a hen who remembers the truth,
imagine how I’ll hold his laughter inside me

to release as I do the dishes and hear it in
the bubbles that collide and burst as I scrub
a crust of caramelized wine from my smallest
skillet and a single plate and fork.


(photo: Wikipedia)


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