There was a comma between us, our names
on the contributor’s list in the book,
done so for alphabetical reasons,
(both our names starting with “I”) there we were,
only divided by interpunction.

Two years after our break up it was, when
in that bookshop, I bought an eraser.
While her eyes seemed to know what my plan was,
the assistant peeked over my shoulder.
The comma erased, we both took a look.
The result was a stain. I closed the book.


entry for thursday poets rally week 19 , Oct. 2011

Comments on: "There was a comma between us" (50)

  1. wow. that’s kind of familiar.
    the one book of poems I’ve gotten published was a collaboration in sonnets with my wife at the time, now 2.4 years ex-wife. so I think I can relate quite intimately to this poem.

  2. Hi David, that is odd, as I did not know. This poem didn’t really happen to me, but as often when I write, sort of happend while writing. If you know what I mean. 🙂 Sharing a book after marriage, I can imagine it is bittersweet somehow.

  3. Revenge is sweet!!!

    A poem which made me smile. A wry smile really as I can recognise the situation.


    • Hi David,
      I must have done something wrong perhaps, or this is another case of the meaning being what the reader reads in it!
      “I” wanted to erase the comma to get rid of the distance between the names, still in love etc., but your take is better perhaps 🙂 Revenge, I hadn’t thought of that interpretation!


  4. No, I didn’t think of revenge – so that comment of David’s is very interesting. My immediate thought was your attempt to close the gap, to come back together – if only on the page; and expressing the longing to do so in real life. The resulting stain and closure of the book is a brilliant way to extend the idea. Somehow, we become the assistant in the shop looking over your shoulder. You close the book as if everything suddenly becomes too painful to share, and the poem ends. Very clever.

    • Hi BH, yes, that is what I was thinking when I wrote it 🙂 and I like this idea of the readers becoming the assistant!
      You have a great ability to really go into a text and see deeper layers there, thank you very much for your comment! 🙂

  5. *Smile*

    I hadn’t thought of your interpretation Ina, but I can see it now that I read the poem again 🙂

    and I think either interpretation works!! 🙂


  6. Beautiful! I love the reference of the comma and enticed with nostalgia, it really makes you skip a beat. Simple yet beautiful piece. =)

  7. Very interesting, erasing the comma to bring you closer…or to erase, or stain, the memory of? Very interesting…I love it, nicely done my friend!

  8. a sad way to connect, powerful point of view.

  9. life after break up expressed delicately. very nice!

  10. Great poem – thanks for sharing 😉

  11. William Leed said:

    It seems at some point one usually reclaims their life one way or another. Cute write.

  12. Kay Salady said:

    Very nice poem.

    p.s. Where did you purchase your eraser?

  13. Hey, yeah I looked at is as things in life no matter how hard you try and what solutions you find, there always remain ‘stains’.. you know as in we expect love to be perfect and when it’s not, it kinda stains us and that idealism we carry… enjoyed the read and loved the fact that it resulted in such an interesting discussion below.. 🙂

    here’s me this week:

    • Hi, that’s deep! Thank you! 🙂

      I tried to reply on your weblog, but it said I had to be logged in (wp) which I was. I liked the poem very much though!

  14. i like how u wrote this version of the ending of a relationship…..
    an end to a marriage..just one click then its all done..

  15. amazing and yet so true it is hard to try and share a book again with someone you are no longer with. It sure does leave a stain in the place of a coma. Wonderful job so well expressed

  16. Revenge always leaves a stain. Nice write 🙂

  17. sometimes alone is ok,sometimes the perspective one head and one person may not be ok…

    life is still unknown poetry…

  18. This post is simply superb as i loved the way it’s been presented…loved these lines
    “The comma erased, we both took a look.
    The result was a stain. I closed the book.”
    Thanks for share Ina…

  19. lessons learnt, revenge does not help that much.


  20. A.B. Thomas said:

    whoa – stunning write!

  21. Love the stationary imagery. Great poem

  22. Quirky and matter of fact; and enjoyable as always.

  23. interpunction.

    Thank you for teaching me a new word, I like poems that expand my vocabulary and I like this one very much.


  24. impressive.


  25. Great imagination.

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