Dead Letter Office
by Anonymous 


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Unsent Letter #1


Dear ,


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


Dear ,


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

came down.






Unsent Letter #3


Dear ,


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


Dear ,


I think about carefully writing letters then leaving them in random places:


Dear Subway Passenger,

Dear Passer-By,


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


Dear ,


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


Dear ,


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

into nothing.






Unsent letter #7


Dear ,


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


Dear ,


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


Dear ,


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


Dear ,


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


Dear ,


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]


Dear ,


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


Dear ,


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


Dear ,


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


Dear ,


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. 


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