Saturday, May 14, 2016

"Letter Home" by Pamela Alexander

Crow1916. Watanabe Seitei.


I can't write you because everything's
wrong. Before dawn, crows swim
from the cedars: black coffee calls them down,
its bitter taste in my throat as they circle,
raucous, huge. Questions with no
place to land, they cruise yellow air
above crickets snapping
like struck matches. My house on fire, crows

are the smoke. You've never left me.
When you crossed the river you did not
call my name. I stood in tall grass
a long time, listening to birds
hidden in reeds, their intricate songs.

The grass will burn, the wrens,
the river and the rain that falls on it.
I can go nowhere else: everything
I cannot bear is here.

I must listen deeper. Sharpen my knife.
Something has changed the angles
of trees, their color. Do not wait to hear
from me. I cannot write to you
because this is what I will say.

From Slow Fire by Pamela Alexander. Copyright © 2007 by Pamela Alexander. 

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