Experiments in Revision, Part 4

Lisa McCool-Grime
Senior Poetry Editor

Synthesis: This is not so much an act of combining as it is an act of harmonizing. Which parts of the previous drafts have shown themselves to be extraneous and unnecessary? Which parts augment and support one another? What is the best flow for these remaining moments? What connective tissue must be added to support that flow? Are there any holes remaining and how to write into them? Here Niki Selken synthesizes drafts 1, 2, and 3 to create a new draft and the final draft of this series. Check back in two weeks from now to hear from Niki about her experience with these experiments.

Unopened Presents

Poetry by Niki Selken

All my Christmas memories
like unopened presents:
her gun in a small brown pouch,

the worn beige carpet,
crumpled green and red presents,

and my sister’s onyx eyes.

A small fake Christmas tree was the only witness
to the feeling of tears in my hair,
a cheek resting against a cold wall.

The old wooden coffee table with circle stains of a thousand drinks consoled me
while mother cried behind her door.

The click of her gun echoed the soundtrack to White Christmas on the TV.

I took a breath then silence
as water boiled in an uncovered pot.

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