Experiments in Revision, Part 3

Lisa McCool-Grime
Senior Poetry Editor

In this series we have thus far presented a long, action-loaded rough draft and then a total scrap-and-revise, tanka-inspired revision. This week’s installment is a list poem—a sister-shadow poem heavy with nouns; a counterpoint to the verb-heavy first draft. Here Niki Selken makes a descriptive list of things her narrator encountered on that Christmas day.

Unopened Presents
Poetry by Niki Selken

old beige carpet
crumpled green and red presents
a closed, wood paneled door

White Christmas on the TV
my sister’s onyx eyes
the feeling of tears in my hair
a cheek resting against a cold wall

the sound of TV Static
then, silence
the stale smell of old books
numbness
mom’s gun in a small brown pouch

nose pressed in the scratchy carpet
water boiling in an uncovered pot
bullets in the sink
click, click, click

silence
an old coffee table with circle stains of a thousand drinks
a small fake Christmas tree
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