Liquid Paper, by PETER MEINKE


Smooth as a snail, this little parson

pardons our sins. Touch the brush tip

lightly and-- abracadabra! --a clean slate.

We know those who blot their brains

by sniffing it, which shows

it erases more than ink

and with imagination anything

can be misapplied . . . In the army,

our topsergeant drank aftershave, squeezing

my Old Spice to the last slow drop.

It worked like Liquid Paper in his head

until he’d glide across the streets of Heidelberg

hunting for the house in Boise, Idaho,

where he was born . . . If I were God

I’d authorize Celestial Liquid Paper

every seven years to whiten our mistakes:

we should be sorry and live with what we’ve done

but seven years is long enough and all of us

deserve a visit now and then

to the house where we were born

before everything got written so far wrong.

From “Liquid Paper” (University of Pittsburgh Press: $12.95). Peter Meinke writes fiction and poetry, and directs the Writing Workshop at Eckard College. A native of Brooklyn, he now lives in St. Petersburg, Fla. 1991 by Peter Meinke.