Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 237

For today’s prompt, write an illusion poem. Could be about magic tricks, optical illusions, illusions of character, or wherever you wish to take it.

Here’s my attempt at an illusion poem:

“When the sun sets”

He waves to the boys
as they float from sight.

Then, giant eagles
descend that he rides

to the moon, where he
talks with aliens

on the side always
covered in darkness.

The aliens, strange
as they are, somehow

understand what he
feels better than he

does. So he donates
his feelings to them

by sketching a few
words on a napkin.

When the boys return,
he asks for them back.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the new poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits books, creates blog posts, writes a column for Writer’s Digest magazine, edits a free weekly newsletter, and other fun writing-related activities. Voted Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere in 2010, Brewer also curates the Insta-poetry series for Virginia Quarterly Review. He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and one princess). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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119 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 237

  1. Julieann

    Whose Reality?

    she sits in front
    of her television
    her eyes riveted to
    the screen

    newscaster talks of
    wars, murders
    homeless children – her
    smile serene

    her mind plays
    family outings
    her son’s first day
    of school – she drools

    today’s world – unseen

  2. inconsiderate

    I saw a man disappear, right before my eyes.

    “It represents the state of our economy,” you said.

    “Our vanishing civil rights,” you continued.

    “Our nonexistent health care,” you insisted.

    As the man reappeared on the far side of the stage, I replied:

    “The performance is illusion, dear. Not allusion.”

  3. Cin5456


    At the top of the hill at sunset
    I thought I saw him wave.
    In a valley by the river at dawn
    I thought I heard him call.
    On the street downtown at noon
    I thought I noticed his stride
    Walk through the door of a restaurant.
    Last night, in his favorite nightclub
    I thought he requested our song.
    It’s been like this for ages it seems.
    I know his shape, his hair and eyes,
    I know his voice and his stride.
    He is everywhere with me,
    but nowhere nearby.
    I wish I knew if he lived, and whether
    I should stop wishing he would return.

  4. calicocat88


    I talked and he spoke
    But he was never there
    Like the cool whisper of
    Hot summer wind his breath
    Was against my neck, pounding
    Into my ears, my mouth with his tongue
    I looked and he looked back
    But I never saw his eyes
    Deep azure blue, flecks of honey
    Dripping down my face, the crook of my collarbone
    The indented curves of my back arching
    Where his touch left blazing marks
    Heated where I thought I felt him graze his teeth
    Down my shoulders, freckled rose-red from sunrays
    Violated treaty with the depths of subcutaneous layers
    And there he was my mind’s eye quivering
    His legs—bronze strong pillars—striding forward
    And disappearing as I reach out to stoke the hard planes
    Lining his features with molten bricks
    Pitted-hollowed canvas submerged within my ribcage
    Staring back at me only my eyes
    With the empty space beside me in the mirror

  5. Jeep Walters

    The Grand Illusion

    “So if you think your life is complete confusion
    Because you never win the game
    Just remember that it’s a Grand illusion
    And deep inside we’re all the same.” ~Dennis DeYoung – Styx

    For better or worse, we are what we are.
    We can delude ourselves that we stand above the rest,
    but our chests all hold the same heart;
    from our start to the end, if it continues, so do we.
    It isn’t easy to be something we weren’t meant to,
    hell bent on superiority, but we all fall in the minority –
    the people left behind to struggle to find the true meaning.
    Existence with resistance is not living,
    it is giving us a false sense of power, and it will
    devour our spirit. Not by bread or the thoughts in his head
    does man live. It is in giving each other a fair shake
    that we take the most from how we live. No intrusion;
    no Grand Illusion. Only a “family” conjoined.
    A Grand Infusion of life!

    © JPW – 2013

  6. Jeep Walters


    Your eyes are deceiving you
    and your heart believes that you
    are seeing what it wants you to!

    It is her that you see, a vision
    in misty faded wisps. You envision
    beauty with beholding eyes, indecision

    fills your mind, your pulse races
    and your can swear her faces is
    hidden in remarkable places.

    You blame the lateness of night,
    you blame your meal, the light
    and try as hard as you might,

    you cannot erase her.
    You cannot replace her
    and God forbid you deface her

    memory. You could swear she is there,
    her perfume, the smell of her hair
    a gentle hand gracing your shoulder to repair

    the loss you feel. It seems so real
    and you thought you could deal
    with it, but you continue to feel

    her presence near.
    She is right here,
    and you’re not clear

    if you want this mirage to stop haunting
    you, the task of waiting till mourning is daunting.
    You reach to touch what is not there, leaving you wanting.

    © JPW – 2013

  7. Susan Schoeffield


    Illusions aren’t just magic tricks
    we might see on the stage,
    those optical deceptions made
    for senses to engage.
    Although they’re quite compelling,
    I’d bet a weekly wage,
    the scariest illusions
    are written on the page.

    Take, for example, Stephen King,
    a master in his field.
    In “Carrie” and “The Shining” are
    illusions that will yield
    a panic once thought buried deep
    or cleverly concealed.
    The horror meant to grip your soul
    is suddenly revealed.

    Bram Stoker and his “Dracula”
    and Shelley’s “Frankenstein”
    are written down illusions
    sending chills along the spine.

    And then, there’s Edgar Allen Poe,
    macabre man of yore,
    describing how “The Tell-Tale Heart”
    can beat beneath the floor
    or how a somewhat pensive man,
    behind a chamber’s door,
    can travel into madness by
    a simple “Nevermore.”

    Through trickery and sleight-of-hand,
    the true magicians write.
    These conjurers take pleasure from
    the terror they ignite.
    So heed my word of warning:
    read these stories in the light
    and not when sunset brings you to
    a dark and stormy night.

    © Susan Schoeffield

    1. Jeep Walters

      I think of Snoopy’s ever-loving novel. “It was a dark and stormy night…” Your observations are spot on, Susan. I remember seeing “The Exorcist” when it first came out and being freaked out by it as a kid. All grown I secured a copy of the “Director’s Cut” with additional footage, popped it into the DVD player and watched it all by myself, bowl of popcorn in my lap and the lights out!. I crapped myself and was vacuuming popcorn for a week. When in doubt now, I ALWAYS go to the light! Loved this.

      1. Susan Schoeffield

        I actually had Snoopy in the original draft, but sent him back to the doghouse by the time I got to the final. I remember when my Mom was reading a paperback copy of “The Exorcist”, she started hearing noises coming from the second floor. My teenaged brain was so disturbed by that I took the book from her, tore it up, buried it in the trashcan under bags of garbage and jammed the lid back on! Needless to say, I never saw the movie. Glad you liked the poem!

  8. jayem

    Still practicing my A,B,Cs


    All beauty can deceive,
    Every fantasy grow hollow.
    If jealousy kills love,
    Might not open passion quell reason?
    Sensuality turn ugly? Virility wither?
    X-ratings yield zealots?

  9. jayem


    Deeds are X-rays,
    Revealing the illusion of words.
    Betraying hearts – maiming souls.
    Leaving us yearning for justice.
    Needing vengeance, quiet passion grows,
    Eclipsing kinder comfort zones.

  10. ewdupler


    My entrance is grand,
    suave and sophisticated.
    Admiring eyes are drawn;
    Crimson cheeks burn;
    Beauties cannot resist.

    I commend the vintage,
    drawing a waiter’s smile.
    The technicolor world spins.
    Standing firmly in the center,
    they seek my company.

    Sharp dress and style
    radiates confidence.
    A smile beckons her.
    With trembling fingers,
    she takes my hand.

    As if on air, we dance,
    flying with rhythmic steps.
    Warm hands melt her,
    turning her friends green.
    We parade through the night

    I return my angel
    and bid them all adieu
    to retreat to my abode.
    I leave them wanting,
    always for more.

    In the soundless dark,
    rising from the dream,
    I wonder, could it be?
    Falling back to my pillow,
    the illusion fades.

  11. taylor graham


    end-of-summer heat
    too warm to fall asleep
    Loki hums as dogdream
    breeze breath thru open screen
    dogmusic twining
    we’re a vine in the garden
    fruited tendrils reaching
    at rest
    under us clover
    knitting the earth pale green
    as luck
    pink clover butterfly-blooms
    cool as dew
    hum of nightbees
    moonlight pads dog-faithful
    across the deck
    honeypurple sleep

  12. Glory

    Lost Love

    I know now,
    know all is an illusion,
    a fantasy in which I strayed
    with desire always moments away,
    this yearning for what cannot be,
    this ache held for eternity
    now lost in time ‘till we meet again.

  13. Amy

    Dog Days

    I hear the words
    as if you spoke them aloud,
    your raspy tones
    rooted in lines that


    I feel the same
    sprinting pulse and
    quaking hands, like my
    ordinary life has been


    into the depth of
    your despair.
    Polite discourse is
    a back and forth of

    taking aim.

    I feel the bull’s-eye
    soaking my skin;
    your illusive verse
    still holds sway.



    to delirious days,
    I marvel at
    the strength of long-
    dormant sentiment.

    The illusion lies
    not in your lies,
    but in mine.

  14. Linda Hatton


    She wears a smile around
    her space, bounce in her
    curls, walks with endless
    grace. Her time is shorter
    than the rest, no need to spend
    it irritated, regurgitating
    woes of aches and bodily
    failures. To the world, youth
    has blessed her like no
    other. Inside, age has had its grip
    on joints and muscles
    from the moment of her arrival,
    fighting for survival, story
    of an illusion only she
    has read.

  15. Connie Peters


    What every little girl aspires to be
    Perfect female anatomy
    Silky hair, large chest
    Tiny feet, best dressed
    She’s so cool to nth degree

    But now get past marketing tricks
    Barbie would be anorexic
    Five foot nine, 110
    Size 3 shoe, a phenomenon
    Proportionately, she’d be a freak

    Where’s the doll at five foot five
    With enough fat to stay alive
    Protruding tummy, knobby knees
    One who can cough and sneeze
    And foot size adequate to stay upright

  16. Nancy Posey

    Since I’m late posting, maybe I should have written a calendar illusion poem. I arrived at work to find a note on my door from a student who had arrived late for class yesterday only to find the room empty. I had to send an email reminding him that our class meets Tuesday-Thursday! It must be one of those weeks.


    Out of the corner of my eye
    I saw your shape slip down the hall

    and turned to speak, jarred
    again to know you’re gone.

    Every glimpse, every illusion
    makes me lose you again,

    reliving that first time, forced
    to face the bitter truth.

    Perhaps I’ll purge the place
    of every reminder, poking

    around under the bed, check
    the closet one more time

    for anything you left behind
    more substantial than your shadow.

  17. Cin5456

    This one is a prose poem about writing prose poetry.

    Prose Poem Runs Away With an Inkling

    Prose poetry takes patience and a slightly skewed sense of the absurd. Take a scenario and give it a twist—off cap, so you can get inside with your tweezers and pluck out the words that stick to the inside, the ones on the tip of your tongue in cheek. Spit them out and separate the good ones from the mischievous ones, the words that refuse to liaise. Obstinate phrases will jump around, pointing while laughing at attempts to capture them whole. Chase down those fragments of thoughts that dance around gaily, and refuse to go to bed on the page when scolded. Little imps of fractured stories slither away when you try to pin them down with your pen. Still, there is inspiration you can count on—its illusive handles are slippery, though. Try to pour inspiration onto a page and you might get blots that you have to scrape off with a spatula. When you think you have it, when all the words are downtown partying with the ink cartridge, take another look. Sure as your mother has eyes in the back of her head, something will peer at you and sneer. Be sure it’s not syntax hissing, or you’ll have to reshape your prose with an ax. Once that’s done, check to see if the words have kidnapped your idea. Be quick, or you may never see that inkling again.

  18. De Jackson


    Now you see it
         don’t you?
            The wrong turn
          at Albuquerque, the
              zig when we shoulda zagged.

           I see it,
               all right.

         The cold eyes and the worn
                   smile that says none of it was
            real. Or if it was, it has now
               somehow faded
                          like so much steam
           and suddenly it’s all so clear:
              You used to love me but
    now you don’t.


  19. taylor graham


    A day for rambling
    past the crush of wheels and horns
    at illusionary turnstiles;
    for hanging actual pliers on their
    appointed hooks; for letting
    neighbors wonder if September light
    through curtains
    is French taupe or Italian blue.
    A day for leaving the time-
    piece on the bureau, the litany
    of failures in a compost heap, the stink
    of yesterday’s illusions.
    A day to just go looking, listening,

  20. Jane Shlensky

    The Age of Illusion

    Time toys with all of us anon.
    I’ve reached the age of illusion
    when what I see may not exist
    beyond my own squinting grin,
    something odd, unreasonable,

    but there it is, plain as day,
    mirage lakes sprung from pasture land,
    fat genies from a covered grill,
    illusion prospers everywhere
    in sounds and smells born on a wind,

    on spider webs on moon lit nights,
    in hot days that began as chill;
    even in people, visions swirl
    in sweet imagination’s hopes—
    a clumsy man might seem handy,

    an ugly woman, beautiful,
    and I myself shine like the sun
    and you, my friend, a precious pearl,
    our eye-sight given way to flights
    of fancy born of sound and light,

    imagination’s steered us right again.
    My own mother, when she was here,
    saw woodland brooks in living rooms
    where streamed sunbeams played havoc
    with her earnest blinks and second looks.

    She didn’t question placement much.
    How can visions offer success
    if we insist on logic, proofs?
    Let others say, “She’s lost it,” if
    they close their eyes and help me search.

  21. Jane Shlensky

    A clogyrdach (cool form RJ)


    Funnel cloud spun of fear and light,
    a dog made bear on moonlit night;
    thermos genies rise
    in filmy disguise—
    no surprise
    poor eyesight.

  22. PKP

    The Happy Mom

    They’re yelling again
    in the bedroom
    words banging into
    the kitchen
    eddying the milk
    in her cornflakes
    in the bowl
    slammed down
    a few minutes
    ago by her
    mother with
    the red eyes
    and the bruised
    They’re yelling again
    and the walls echo
    as she eats and
    swings her feet
    against the chair legs
    She eats until she
    finds the bottom of
    the bowl
    the house quiet
    like it gets
    as the bus
    comes and she
    puts her bowl
    in the sink
    and leaves
    smiling an
    closing the door
    quietly behind her
    and waving to a
    phantom mommy
    smiling with a kiss
    on her lips wishing
    her a happy day

  23. Bruce Niedt

    I’m getting ready to help lead a haiku workshop soon, and I’m writing some to get into the frame of mind, so you may be seeing lots of haiku from me in the coming weeks.

    a puddle shimmers,
    disappears as we approach –
    all your promises

  24. JWLaviguer

    Life of Illusion

    When a thousand birds
    serenade you into illusion
    and the fields of grain
    wave goodbye to the sun

    Will you still remember
    the waves collapsing on the shore
    exhausted after their long journey
    from other worlds yet to be explored

    Can I ever forget
    songs sung by the frogs
    and the lightning bugs reflected
    in your eyes when you smiled.

    JW Laviguer

  25. PKP

    Beautiful Girl

    She stares
    into a four hundred
    watt mirror
    Face lit from without
    pats from pots
    paint, cream
    and powder, onto
    sutured skin
    creases injectably ironed
    Fluffs her highlighted hair
    Pastes on a ready-made smile
    Shuts the light
    Turns on the switch and
    into another dim day of
    Beautiful and Happy

  26. Domino

    “…put your hand on the knob of the door to your room. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. What’s that noise you hear? Could it be your books reading themselves to one another?” Frances O’Roark Dowell, Falling In

    They all seem so real, at least to me,
    all the characters in my books.
    Jane Eyre, Edmund Dantes, Jay Gatsby,
    They all seem so real, at least to me.
    Heathcliff, the Dodger, Moll Flanders, Quee-
    queg, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Pan, Hook
    They all seem so real, at least to me,
    all the characters in my books.

    Diana Terrill Clark

    1. PressOn

      It interests me that you used the triolet for this. I think of it as a cycling poem, and I get the feeling of a reader going back to the novels, again and again, because they’re so real.It reminds me of something I once read, to the effect that histories tell lies; and novels, truths.

      1. Domino

        That’s why the Triolet. Because novels are like good friends, and walking into a bookstore or library filled with novels I’ve read is like walking again into a circle of friends. Maybe that makes me foolish, but it is at least honest. ^_^

  27. Michelle Hed


    “Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.” ~ Mark Twain

    Delusions or day dreams,
    bits of magic
    throughout the day…

    infusions of delight
    climbing through
    the attics of your brain,
    blowing of the dust…

    confusions dissolve
    as the eyes open
    your soul…

    collusions with words
    sneaking between
    striking a cord…

    allusions flitting about
    chasing each other
    they hit a wall…

    illusions dancing
    around your mind,
    smiling at your
    willingness to play.

  28. Jeep Walters


    Analog has gone the way
    of saddle shoes and 45’s.
    For the more you fidget
    with your digits you find
    the control you seek.
    Even if the meek do inherit,
    it’s safe to say they miss the trick
    on a life of love. Its magic
    is not done with smoke and mirrors.
    GCI is the guy to blame.
    Prestidigitate, but never
    let them see you pixelate!

  29. JWLaviguer

    Overly Shunned

    She alluded to the illusion that I was eluding
    lies all lies I came to the conclusion
    so again I thanked her for the intrusion
    and kinda sorta for the contusion
    and wished I had been the one exclusion
    so now I am alone in my seclusion
    needing a heart transplant and transfusion.

    JW Laviguer

  30. Patricia Anne McGoldrick

    Poem by Pearl Ketover Prilik for today’s prompt

    The Illusionist

    Here we sit
    Faces bright
    As children
    Eyes wide
    With wonder
    Waiting with
    Held connected
    For Peace
    To pop
    From a black
    Silk hat
    Like a white rabbit

    * Poem pasted here as requested by Pearl
    Pearl Ketover Prilik 10:54am Sep 18
    Hi all …. Well PA does not like me this morning and will not let me sign in…if someone has a sec – could you copy and post the lil poem I wrote for today’s prompt – it is posted directly below … Much thanks to anyone who can help me out 🙂

      1. PKP

        Thanks Power for the comment and the suggestion – makes good sense and will try clearing brower cache on IPAD … off I go now… Much appreciation 🙂 …back later to read and comment.

  31. mrinalini

    Chevy on the rocks

    The sun soaked street melts into a grey river,
    My canary yellow Chevy, mistress of the sea,
    So sturdy that it defeats the wind,
    Floating mightily ahead, liquid gold in the cooler.

    I’m the Captain of the vessel, the Lord, the King,
    Nobody aboard, I can drink, I can sin.
    My scars are visible but hidden,
    I drift across continents in a span of a building.

    I inhale the solitude with hungry gulps,
    The peace, the lack of bicker and blame,
    I am suddenly aroused by the rusty tang,
    As I crush all that appears in my way..

  32. mrinalini

    The sun soaked street melts into a grey river,
    My canary yellow Chevy, mistress of the sea,
    So sturdy that it defeats the wind,
    Floating mightily ahead, liquid gold in the cooler.

    I’m the Captain of the vessel, the Lord, the King,
    Nobody aboard, I can drink, I can sin.
    My scars are visible but hidden,
    I drift across continents in a span of a building.

    I inhale the solitude with hungry gulps,
    The peace, the lack of bicker and blame,
    I am suddenly aroused by the rusty tang,
    As I crush all that appears in my way..

  33. JRSimmang


    “Come one; COME ALL

    to the show that never ends!
    See here, the
    snake oil,
    squeezed from the snakes
    of home-grown snakes
    (Pennsylvania, it is!),
    tempered with African


    and mixed with the tears of laughter
    from savage,

    Hawai’ian maidens
    (their laughter silenced the volcano).

    Care to take a swig?
    Care to take a gulp?
    Care to take this vial,


    home with you to release your
    inner TIGER?

    The cost is easy to manage;
    I’ll take installments

    while you sit there,
    (though I know the truth),
    and convinced that you have the
    you wished for,
    that you can make the
    you wanted

    in your own lives.


    It’s yours with the purchase of this
    Snake Oil.”

    And we stood there
    while our pockets
    were picked,
    our purses emptied,
    and when the wagon pulled out
    we found we had drank
    castor oil,
    sick to our stomachs

    -JR Simmang

  34. elishevasmom


    Muse gives you an illusion
    of control
    -ling this thing called
    prosody. That it is you
    who places spaces between
    letters to make words.
    Then words to make
    sentences, or lines or
    That it is you who chooses
    between the happy and
    the boohoo-ses.
    When in reality, the letters
    that appear before you
    are not your progeny.
    They are her offspring
    by her springing off across
    your page leaving her
    her way, dropping those
    sweet morsels, luring
    you on behind her.
    And just when you think
    you’ve got it all right
    where you want it, is
    when she cracks her
    whip—scattering your letters
    into the wind like dust
    from a sneeze.
    But, having teased you
    sufficiently for one day,
    with one final flourish
    (using the whip as a drawstring
    now) it all snaps back into
    Which is when you lay your
    pencil down with a sigh of relief.

    Ellen Knight 9.18.13 (write an illusion poem for PA)

      1. elishevasmom

        An interesting comment. I wrote a poem entitled “Diary of a Dervish”. That is pretty much like what goes on in my head. It is the writing that is my salvation, of a certainty.

  35. RJ Clarken

    Optical Illusion

    “There is an optical illusion about every person we meet.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Behind the façade is a face
    Like Tuesday’s child, it’s full of grace.
    You’re hard wired for that:
    the way you look at
    each small trace.


  36. RJ Clarken

    Balancing Act

    “An illusion which makes me happy is worth a verity which drags me to the ground.” ~Christopher Martin-Wieland

    This philosophical tightrope
    favors the potential of hope
    so that I ensconce
    mostly joy; no wants.
    I can cope.


      1. PKP

        WOW – I won’t even attempt to follow that comment! Just put me down as an “I second that!” Beautiful graceful elegant powerful and lovely (the comment and of course the poem that inspired it!)

  37. Ann M

    Pecos, NM

    the day we were there
    rain fell on the old mission church
    that the enslaved natives
    had built
    and then attacked
    in fury
    and that now melted
    into red mud
    which we stepped in,
    soaking our boots
    like blood.

  38. PuffofSmokePoems

    The New Boy

    So many bells, he says.
    Every day here is broken into
    the same question in every class
    and many strict blocks of time.
    Tired but polite,
    the new boy from Pakistan
    answers again.
    Your country is so very clean
    it feels almost like a movie set
    where everyone must adhere
    to the bells, the script,
    the tight shooting schedule.
    He gathers his books.
    It doesn’t always look real
    he says, as another bell rings.

    1. JRSimmang

      I agree completely with the others. This is an interesting read. I think you detailed surface level education and how easy it is to see through the façade, while we believe it is accomplishing something great. Food for thought, for sure.

  39. Jeep Walters

    I’m Not Here

    Now you see me.
    This slight of hand demands
    That I distract you so you
    Can’t see what matters,
    My patter will lead you;
    Deceive you! Your to focus
    On my hocus locus is key.
    But it’s me who holds the magic
    And it is tragic that I can control
    Your very soul! Watch my hands
    And you’ll understand. Now you see
    Me; now you don’t! My abracadabra
    Makes me invisible; a great illusion!

    1. Jeep Walters

      Sorry. Thumbs on a smart phone is not my favorite medium for writing! Taking a mulligan:

      I’m Not Here

      Now you see me.
      This sleight of hand demands
      that I distract you so you
      can’t see what matters,
      My patter will lead you;
      deceive you! Your focus
      on my hocus pocus is key.
      But, it’s me who holds the magic
      and it is tragic that I can control
      your very soul! Watch my hands
      and you’ll understand. Now you see
      me; now you don’t! My abracadabra
      makes me invisible; a great illusion!

  40. PowerUnit

    A True Tail (this morning)

    A 6:10 warm up
    Get those windows cleared
    Can’t see bugger all
    Can’t see in the dark

    Who the hell is that?
    Approaching me
    In my driveway

    He stands in my headlights,
    Fills my window
    Large and menacing
    An orange silhouette, a ghost!

    I open my door
    One foot on the gas
    Ready for a confrontation
    Who are you?

    His big green eyes stare at me, into me
    His body shines in the light
    He responds


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