5 principles for revision: (1) Correct logic (an Aladdin’s lamp might be curled, but never really crisp) (2) Tighten–remove all extraneous letters and words, like blaze[s] (3) Sound–make substitutions of words that blend into the sound and texture of the poem (4) Syntax–amp up the syntax, like making 2nd and 5th stanzas questions like stanza 1 (5) Immediacy–the last line reaches out to the reader “here” rather than keeping an observer’s distance.

Final draft (quatrains):

Is My Mother’s Spirit


Alive in this iris blooming

today, in its dazzling drapes—

the “falls,” daintily bearded.

Does she stare from its center?

Are her eyes captured,

and their shine—twenty years

after death—relit gold,

genie in a curled lamp?

Sun rays streak headlong

from Earth’s star, the heat

wafting across distances,

where she might live now

perhaps on a new planet.

She is here also, in silver

blaze of petals, hint of blue,

shimmer of her specter.

Did she tend the rhizome

of this plant—what I trans-

planted, rekindled—to haunt,

to watch as I bend close?