you were here

i’m finding strange smudges on my pages
at corners of poems that have my name
so clearly emboldened at the bottom
there are lines i don’t remember writing
and demiconcentric shapes
not quite greasy but distinct and attention-drawing
oh! and here’s the dampened circle from a coffee cup
black, with three or four sugars
an even ring cut off at one end but light tan and still sweet

turning the pages, i lose track of what’s mine
as others’ texts melt into my verses
i find figures, both mine and divine, real and stolen
i kiss hephaestus’ hand
oh my vulcan, sharpening my bolts
nymph-rescued, sooty man, fixing things,
making scribbles in a hand too large to be mine

so i settle into a belongingless sense of my poetry
words being given up to the reader now
but perhaps not mine anyway
a certain communism of thought prevails.

Adrienne D. Mishkin