Posts Tagged ‘letter’

Silence did not say come sit with me.
Did not say I miss you. Did not wonder
where I have been. Silence did not
call me sweetheart, did not make
me promises, did not scold me
or scorn me or bid me closer in.
The invitation it sent was blank,
the most beautiful letter
ever not written.
I responded right away,
though it was, perhaps some time
before I noticed every part of me
was splaying like a lily, petal soft
and open beyond what the bud of me
dared to dream. And all around me,
the silence did not say good job,
did not say please stay, did not whisper
a word as I opened into it,
wider then wider.

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I don’t think of all the lines from letters
I will never learn by heart,
those letters that you never wrote
about those days you didn’t live—
those mornings you didn’t wake to snow,
those friends you didn’t bring back home,
those tangy foods served in countries
where you will never go.
Is it strange to miss what never was?
I wouldn’t know.
I’m not thinking of them now,
all those letters that you never wrote.

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Perhaps three years ago
my son gave me three paper slips,
each one an IOU with his name and phone number
and the promise to do whatever I asked him to do.

I saved the slips in my bathroom drawer
where they mingled with hair ties
and toothpaste tubes,
until a month ago, when I wrote on one
in small blue cursive,
Please send a sign to your sister you love her.

And today, two months after his death,
a single postcard came, addressed to my daughter,
a postcard sent from Minnesota
but written in his hand.

It doesn’t say I love you. It’s a photo
of an old marketplace in Cusco,
a city he visited one week before he died.
He tells her about it, says it’s a place he enjoys.

And there, on the four-by-six cardstock,
unfurling between his handwritten words
is the unsaid message she seldom heard—

You’re important to me.
I love you. I miss you.
I’m grateful you’re in my life.

Consider this poem a thank you letter
addressed to what I can’t understand.
Thank you for finding a way to say
the words that couldn’t be said.
Thank you for letting an absence
tell a larger story. Thank you
for unusual postage.
For wonder. For special delivery.

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Some people say there’s nothing out there,
nothing but plains and the Platte and the sky.
A whole horizon of nothing,
and a barbed wire fence to hold back
all that nothing. But when you drive
through that nothing
perhaps a young scrappy man
on a half-breed mustang
will ride through your thoughts,
and hand you a letter
from one hundred sixty years ago.
For you, he’ll say with a tip of his hat
before he gallops away toward the west.
What might the past have to say to you
sent via Pony Express?
Perhaps something about
the beauty of nothing,
or how the road you choose matters.
Go ahead, friend, what are you waiting for?
Open that letter.

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In the spaces between

the words I didn’t write,

there was a pour of poison.

A wall-full of bricks.

The barbs from a hundred hooks.

I almost forgot how in the writing

some of that poison would

slip into me, how I despise

a wall, how each hook

demands a bit of my blood.

I spent hours not writing it,

used up reams of thoughts.

It was a relief when the wind

blew away all the words

except these: I understand.

Those, it let me read again

before they, too, blew away

and I didn’t chase after them.

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*Dear readers: Sooooo. After really investing myself in the letter (linked below) and writing the poem below, I found out the letter is a fake. And I thought about just taking down the poem. And then I thought, well, even though Albert didn’t write the letter, I still believe in what it says. So I changed the title and made note here that the letter is fake. I guess my poem just turned into fan fiction??



If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer.

            —a fake letter from Albert Einstein, in a letter to his daughter, Lieserl



Thank you for your letter.

I know you wrote it

for a daughter,

but I read it as if

you wrote it for me.


You spoke of making a love bomb,

a device powerful enough

to entirely destroy the hate,

selfishness and greed

that devastate the planet.


I want to believe it’s possible.

Now. Somehow, because it is

your assertion, it feels

more possible than something

the poets propose.


But count me in. Let me help

verify your equation in which

the energy to heal the world

is obtained through love

multiplied by the speed of light squared.


Let the experiment begin

in my heart. Let me always

let love write the proof.

Let me find the infinite energy

inside me waiting to be released.


Let me be driven by love.

Let me remember everything

is in relation to everything else:

Planets in their orbits. A virus. Black holes.

How I meet the world. The bending of light.


*to read the full letter, click here

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Here, into this letter I will slip you
the pucker of this morning’s grapefruit—
the way that the ruby flesh
comes alive on the tongue
and makes the whole room impossibly shine.
And here, tucked inside each serif
is the riot of birdsong I heard
strung along the alley, a delirious
garland of tune. I want to serve
you the scent of the rye as it
turns from flour into bread,
and the sound of the San Miguel River
as it gurgles low in its icy bed.
And here, here is the creamy sweep of the Milky Way
harvested from last night’s clear, clear
sky to fold into your morning thoughts. And here
the stubbornness of mint
that soon will leap from the frosted ground,
and here, the book that will always open
to your favorite page.
The rosy glow on the snow dreamed peaks,
and the green in the spruce that never leaves
and the finish line at the end of the race.
These are impossible things, of course,
to give you, but here is the pink of the wild
rose that blooms at the edge of the desert,
and here is the rich bitterness of espresso
and here are my hands, my open palms,
my fingers tracing the slow of your back.

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reading again
that yellowing letter
you never sent me

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winter haiku

between waves of snow
your letter brings carpets of
pink camellia

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nothing holds back
the river forever—
these hands still trying

same cold, same dawn,
same landscape—even that hill
seems tired of standing


again I write
in my head the letter, again
I rip it up


and then the day came
when I sat in the lupine
instead of climbing


morning after
the storm each glittering limb
the most lovely

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