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By Karin Gottshall

Sometimes I say I’m going to meet my sister at the café—

even though I have no sister—just because it’s such

a beautiful thing to say. I’ve always thought so, ever since


I read a novel in which two sisters were constantly meeting

in cafés. Today, for example, I walked alone

on the wet sidewalk, wearing my rain boots, expecting


someone might ask where I was headed. I bought

a steno pad and a watch battery, the store windows

fogged up. Rain in April is a kind of promise, and it costs


nothing. I carried a bag of books to the café and ordered

tea. I like a place that’s lit by lamps. I like a place

where you can hear people talk about small things,


like the difference between azure and cerulean,

and the price of tulips. It’s going down. I watched

someone who could be my sister walk in, shaking the rain


from her hair. I thought, even now florists are filling

their coolers with tulips, five dollars a bundle. All over

the city there are sisters. Any one of them could be mine.


Poem copyright ©2010 by Karin Gottshall, whose most recent book of poetry is Crocus, Fordham University Press, 2007. Poem reprinted from the New Ohio Review, No. 8, Fall 2010, by permission of Karin Gottshall and the publisher.

Poet Bio

Karin Gottshall
Karin Gottshall grew up in Michigan. She earned a BA at Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA at Vermont College. Her first poetry collection, Crocus (2007), won the Poets Out Loud Prize and was published by Fordham University Press. Her poems introduce beautifully strange yet familiar worlds. She lives in Vermont and teaches at Middlebury College.