The Revision Process - 2nd Draft
When several people comment, positively or negatively, about the same thing then that's a pretty sure sign. In this poem, no one liked "sun becoming a low pomegranate." The best explanation was that, after the literal lists of food, a food metaphor seemed contrived. So, I can just remove it for now. But if I can replace it with a simple, strong description that would be better. What did the sunset really look like? That's the question I always ask. What really happened? Tell the precise truth.
It took an hour, and I'm not sure I like it. Along the way, I typed and deleted a lot of ideas, and finally just wrote whatever I was thinking, trying to be in the same place as the couple in the poem. That looked like this.
if it rained, we would set outside to catch the rain, or catch the
sunset on clear nights, the breeze coming through the screen like a
sieve, touching our cheeks and forearms, blanketing our skin, the sunset
rolling over the ground, the red sky becoming black, reflecting off the
trees, matching the color of their trunks until they become invisible,
as if the dark were poured into the air. We sip and watch the sky become
the color of leaves. It's as if we breathed out the sunset. On nights
when it rained, we set our cups out to rinse. watching the night cover
the trees, watching the trees absorb the sunset. yuck. until the sun gave
up. Until the trees hid the sun. all the colors going black. leting the
sun become red, then black. and watch the red sunset, or listen to the
rain pelt tree leaves.
And I ended up using the last thing I wrote. So, this is the revision.
Before You Slept
On Mondays, we always ate baked gravy rolls, which are
brown gravy ladeled over day-old rolls, with pepper,
baked at 350 for fifteen minutes.
It was our only fasting, after weekends of excess, of wild turtle
soup, and sweet potatoes stuffed with cinnamon-fried turkey, and
sauteed rosemary shrimp, and garlic wheat buns, and Spanish reds,
and Spanish whites, and...afterward...Spanish aperitifs,
which we would sip while spooning mint sorbet from metal bowls,
and watch the red sunset, or listen to rain pelt the tree leaves,
when you'd say, "I loved the first dark chocolate you gave me,"
and I'd say, "It had half melted," and you'd say,
"I loved the other half."
We'd finish our sherry and kiss while our lips were still wet and numb.
You would always say, "I love you more than strawberries, more than
a perfect London broil, more than juniper custard." And I'd say,
"I always look forward to tomorrow, to remembering you like this."
And then we'd let the glasses rest, and find the bed. You'd be my
furnace, while you slept, your breath making waves in the pillow.