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77| A Primer

Pamela Johnson Parker

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The glass will show me how my beauty’s worn;
The clock’s face, how my sunny minutes played;
Half-vacant pages from my typewriter torn
Flaunt crossed-out words and fractious fragments flayed.
The wrinkles which my glass will truly show
Like furrowed fields line o’er my once-smooth brow
And by the dial’s upthrown hands I’ll know
Time’s thievish progress tramples o’er me now;
Look what my glances cannot, have not caught!
Invent instead a memory palace built
Room after room — calligraphy of thought
Envisions alchemy of ink to gilt.
      And like that transformation — pure from base —
      With brush and soot I’ll reinscribe my face.

Pamela Johnson Parker is an instructor of creative writing and humanities at Murray State University. Her poems, short fiction, and essays have appeared in numerous journals anthologies, most recently Language Lessons from Third Man Press in Nashville. Parker lives in west Kentucky and is currently at work on a novel.

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