Lynn Gilbert


My Own, Pre-Owned

I saw my book on Amazon,
“inscribed,” the ad said, years ago—
treason I set to pondering on:
who’d sold it off? I had to know.

Was it a lover who perhaps
had fallen on hard times and sold
his copy of my metric raps
when our liaison had grown cold?

Or some disgruntled former friend
not seen this quarter century—
content that our frayed tie should end—
who quietly got shut of me?

It cost me twenty bucks, but when
it came, I thought it worth the dough.
I had the book in hand again
and in the faded ink read—Lo!—

lines to “Roberta.” Who was she
that I should warmly recommend her
to keep composing poetry,
and why on earth did I befriend her?

The flyleaf page I’d written on
to one I have no memory of
encouraged her to carry on—
my book gift acting as a shove.

I may as well quit being miffed;
It wouldn’t do to seem self-serving.
I’ll slice that leaf out, and regift
to someone else who’s more deserving.

Lynn Gilbert‘s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Appalachian Review, Banyan Review, Blue Unicorn, Concho River Review, Exquisite Corpse, Gnu, Kansas Quarterly, Mezzo Cammin, Mortar, Peninsula Poets, Southwestern American Literature, and elsewhere. An associate editor at Third Wednesday journal, she has been a finalist in the Gerald Cable and Off the Grid Press book contests.