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   I borrowed a few lines. Hope you don't mind.
   He thought the gift of his new book enough
   to compensate me for the words I'd find.

   Was his inscription meant to confess, remind,
   or mock? I found the place. And sure enough,
   he'd borrowed whole stanzas, knowing I'd mind.

   My first instinct was to respond in kind
   by swiping some of his good lines, enough
   to compensate me for what else I'd find.

   More attentively than otherwise inclined,
   I read his poems for larcenies. Enough!
   I burrowed through lines and finally didn't mind

   the good company he had found for mine.
   Not his by any means, but others, enough
   to compensate with passages I'd find.

   Although I cut the poem with hijacked lines,
   my collection was published soon enough.
   To compensate, I wrote. I could not find
   a line worth borrowing. Hope you don't mind!

Will Wells's last full-length volume of poems won the Hollis Summers Prize in Poetry and was published by Ohio University/Swallow Press in 2010. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in issues of Alabama Literary Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, The Cape Rock, The Evansville Review, Image, Miramar Review, The Southwest Review, 32 poems, Tampa Review, Main Street Rag, and others.

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Author:Wells, Will
Publication:River Styx
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jul 1, 2015
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