Thursday, January 15, 2009

Little Letter

and this poem is also for Jeremy...who wrote a lovely song that looked just like a dark green forest and tasted just like some old poetry he's read.

Little Letter
- for Morgan

It was just a little notecard,
with handwriting that made big loops
and letters that moved up and down
like they were traversing a landscape,

a landscape forged years ago
when all the blood and the bending
the needles, the pain, the twitchy anger
and the hard ties of family
carved a hole so deep
that I thought no one would ever
get back out.

But you made it, Morgan.
At nine and a half years old.

You, with your almond eyes
like your mothers
like mine.
You with the blood of this family in your veins.
You walked right out of that black hole
that dark green forest
like it was nothing.

And I have been waiting for you for years.
As patiently as I could,
tossing Christmas and birthday gifts
and handfuls of wishes that I couldn’t say outloud
down that hole
hoping for an answer.

And here it is. This little letter.
Years after your mother’s death.
Your bold handwriting
the ink bleeding.
Years after I thought it would never be the same.
Years after I took that long walk, alone
to your mother’s tombstone,
the sister I couldn’t have,
because your father couldn’t face it again.

Here you are at nine and half
building a bridge of letters
that covers that distance,
that traverses this landscape
of cancer and death
and lost babies
and the sick cycle I keep waking up in.

This little notecard in my hand.
I have been waiting for it
and my voice is hoarse
from screaming and my ears are strained from listening
and just when I thought it was pointless
and I should leave you and your father alone,
after all, you have already been through so much.
You answered, Morgan.
You answered.

And I’m not going to think about what it will be like
if you come visit me.
And we go to the park, and feed the horses sugar cubes
and I’m not going to compile a list of things I could tell you
about your mother, about a family that was kept secret.
This letter from you, for now, it is enough.
I’m tucking it away in my journal.

This little notecard.
reminding me
of the first letter I got from your mother
when I was only a little older than you are now.

Oh this family, Morgan,
it is a complicated thing.
But you,
you are the brave one,

and with your letter, for just a moment,
the dead got through the void too,
for just a millisecond
and she whispered in my ear
but I don’t know what she said
I just know that with you,
has finally


  1. this family is a complicated thing, but you've managed to say, eloquently and with purpose that which i can't.

    i've tucked the notecard away as well, for all that it is...and isn't.