Marginalia

Finding an old book on a basement shelf—   
gray, spine bent—and reading it again,   
I met my former, unfamiliar, self,   
some of her notes and scrawls so alien   

that, though I tried, I couldn't get (behind   
this gloss or that) back to the time she wrote   
to guess what experiences she had in mind,   
the living context of some scribbled note;   

or see the girl beneath the purple ink   
who chose this phrase or that to underline,   
the mood, the boy, that lay behind her thinking—   
but they were thoughts I recognized as mine;   

and though there were words I couldn't even read,   
blobs and cross-outs; and though not a jot   
remained of her old existence—I agreed   
with the young annotator's every thought:   

A clever girl. So what would she see fit   
to comment on—and what would she have to say   
about the years that she and I have written   
since—before we put the book away?

Poem copyright ©2008 by Deborah Warren, whose most recent book of poems is "Dream with Flowers and Bowl of Fruit," University of Evansville Press, 2008. Poem reprinted from the "Hudson Review," Vol. LXI, no. 3, Autumn 2008, and reprinted by permission of the author and publisher.
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