shot glass
"... brevity is the soul of wit ..."
- William Shakespeare

Elise Hempel



This crude old inkwell filled
with nothing now but dust,
a glowing light from the west –
I lift it, see the scrolled

table, her high-necked gown,
thin shoulders as she bends
and dips the long pen in,
slowly setting down

each careful letter like lace
beneath the lamp's soft flame,
the flourish of her name
forgotten now, her voice

long gone but in the curved
blue glass, this wisp of stain,
one brilliant, lilting line
still trying to be heard.