Unsent Letter #1
Thereís a mallard and his mate outside my window. The rose bushes
have been uprooted, ready to be replaced. Across the street the police
are in the process of arresting a woman. Her husband [boyfriend] leans
against the building like heís seen it all before. Itís difficult. I think Iím
ruined. Iíll take my chances in slivers; not brave enough to flat out ask
and too smart [afraid] to blow it all by being honest. If you were here
I couldnít fake it. But youíre not. Youíre a handwritten letter; an untold
story. Tomorrow, the landscapers will be back.
Unsent Letter #2
Now, there is nothing but dirt. They took the trees, bushes;
even part of the sidewalk. The police are gone. The flashing
red and blue a quiet promise of their return. I want to tell you
stories. I want to find one more way to turn the truth. I want
to be subversive. Iíll confess my crimes. Iíll take my chances;
tell you what you think you already know. I do plan to post this
bundle of letters. Maybe Iíll redact them. As if they were sent
from a warzone or some Eastern Bloc country before the wall
Unsent Letter #3
Sometimes I no longer believe youíre real; this letter
will sit in the dead letter office. Unopened and unread
until one rainy day, a bored employee will wonder who
it was meant for. Theyíll open it, read it aloud; create
their own narrative. I wonder will they be able to see
the curve of your hand, the spot on your wrist I used
to kiss; the freckle on your rib. On my window ledge,
a petal, used to be a rose. Itís a stamp thatís fallen
off an envelope; one more letter unable to be delivered.
Unsent Letter #4
I think about carefully writing letters then leaving them in random places:
Dear Subway Passenger,
Let me tell you about my lover.
Sheís beautiful in that way sadness has of rounding out edges.
She likes to go barefoot; better to feel the earth tremble, she says.
She worries about the sun when it rains,
Likes to sit in her grandmotherís chair; best seat in the house when it thunders.
She believes in long good-byes and wide-open spaces. Last thing she told me was how words seem to come alive when written by hand.
Unsent Letter #5
Every day I stop at the park. Same time, except on Thursdays [Iím a little late].
I lean against the car and wait. Sometimes Iíll walk the path. Once I sat under
a maple; watched a robin collect twigs for a nest. One day thereíll be nothing
left to breathe; a few moments here, a question or two there. I notice the same
people: an older woman sits on the bench facing west [always leaves at 4:30],
a young boy and girl [the beginnings of a crush]. Sometimes, I wonder if they
recognize me; know what Iím waiting for.
Unsent Letter #6
You told me your husband wished you were more practical.
I wanted to accidently run into him; tell him I was envious.
Convince him youíre perfect. We were everywhere. We were
overflowing, abandoned. I promised to not count the days,
but they were right there: full fresh days; a bawdy yellow
field; a dark sitting room, the backseat of a car while it rained.
There were wide highways; clean, flat and endless. When I
stopped counting it was long enough to end it all. Youíre patient;
all ready to take the long road. Iím unforgivable; writing my way
Unsent letter #7
I love edges. Anything that can take me down another city
block, around corners; into the permanent. The air is lousy
with shouts from irritated cars. Itís all breakable; you tell
me joy is the number 8, always doubling back on itself.
Thereís a catch in your voice; youíd rather be home,
digging in the garden until the sensation of floating ebbs
into a drop of rain. I want to plan a full color escape, feel
the brush of your hand against my cheek. Until everything
is simple math: minus me; plus you; divide us both in two.
Unsent letter #8
Remember the night we stole your fatherís car? The halo-glow
of the porch light illuminated our crime. You slid across the long
bench seat, told me to drive. Drive to nowhere; drive over the edge
of the earth; watch the look on Godís face as we crack the horizon.
I remember crickets singing louder the further we went; the hum
of wind through wing windows. There was clean static from AM
radio; your hand on mine. I wake, three four five times a night
and youíre invisible; a shadow; a heart-shaped moth watching
over me as I fall to sleep.
Unsent letter #9
Not sure whatís left to write. Iíve told you about the birds that nest
in winter; the simple pearl of water that glides down my window;
an unpainted bridge over Lester Park Creek that reminds me of that
summer. We cannot forget what we donít remember; cannot let it
go again. Next time will be forever. This morning the moon was a dim
light wrapped in gauze. Weíre separated; not by distance, not time
but circumstance. Weíll carry each other; two butterflies frozen still
on pink petals. Handwritten notes folded in our pockets; everything
weíll ever need.
Unsent letter #10
I want you to forget you love me. Forget how trees scallop the sky,
the way the horizon shuns the stars. I want you to bury the words
you gave to me. The ones that belong to the soft rush of wind
through pussy willows. Pack away the quiet adjectives you use
to describe the sound of morning; forget it all. Iíll write you from
another continent, bare and thirsty words; underfed and worthless
words. Iíll write of broken promises; made up prayers from lost
lovers. Iíll tell you about paper wings, ashes; a wet moon awash
on the shore.
Unsent Letter #11
Iím looking outside my window 5:30AM; the only
one here; not ready to work. Its quiet; the quiet
roar of a world thatís still and within itself. You tell
me youíre flying out in five days; England then
Portugal. I wonder what love feels like after a distance;
after silence turns into a rush of wind. Later this year
Iíll be in London; funny how we end up in the same
places but never at the same time. Send me a card,
a cheap souvenir. Iíll fold it into a talisman; every
crease a reminder of where Iíve been.
Unsent letter #12 [I still think of you when the world gets like this]
How you told me 11 is the number for clarity;
itís morning, rivers and sleet. Itís anything
wet: sweat on a glass of beer, a splash from
fish, silver and sleek, It comes before blood,
before we learn how to swallow loss. You love
this town, its broken pieces laid out before this
Great Lake. The park by the canal is deserted,
gulls pick at tourist leftovers. I imagine you
painting, writing, listening to your favorite
playlist; firefly or lush. I watch the lights on
the hill go out one by one by one; count them
until everything becomes clear.
Unsent letter # 13
I want to lie with you on a narrow bed
in a simple room; a plain white sheet,
blank walls. Thereís one window; outside
a field, then woods. Your arms wrapped
lightly around me. Your blouse, sweater
and green skirt with the frayed hem hang
over the back of a rocking chair; bra and
panties on the floor at the foot of the bed.
Thereís a bell, a quiet chime; itís Sunday
morning. The slant of rain is illuminated
by the moon. Weíre unafraid, marooned
as long as we choose; lost on this blue
quilted sea between dreams and sleep.
Unsent letter #14
By now, youíre over the ocean; thereís the rustle
of pages being turned, the flicker of dim lights.
The scent of the moon has followed you, clings
to your skin. Before you close your eyes, Iíll
tell you this: thereís nothing the air cannot hold;
the soft crescendo of leaves in winter, the splash
of a fish in summer, a grass-stained knee; even
this letter folded in your pocket. Iíll find your
favorite tree. Take a twig, soft brown and brittle,
put it on the window ledge; wait for a bird to pick
it up, fly it to you.
Unsent letter #15
I remember things not related to love: how one day
you took off your wedding band to see if he would
notice; how Francis is your favorite saint; how the
color orange tastes like grief. The days are starting
to get shorter; wish I was someplace deep and green.
Do you know I love your imperfections? Each one is
the perfect sin. Thereís a moving van across the street;
a plane unzips the blue from the sky. The downtown
skyline is a layer of gray. The landscaping is all done;
the mallard and his mate have been gone for days.
The Author wishes to remain Anonymous
You are encouraged to use this work in any way you see fit. Steal it, borrow it, take parts and make something new, rearrange it, riff on it, send it out over the internet, blog it, post it on telephone poles, throw it away. There is no copyright, no expectation of credit. Poetry should be free.