The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Letter
Writing to you makes me remember
the rivers between us. All the fish in
all that water, swimming upstream.
What are they returning to, and do
they find their heart there, swallowed
in the rapids, time bearing down?
Erosion doesn’t bring us closer,
but blows us apart. Small as sand
before it became glasses to drink
from, plates to drop upon the floor.
I expected the land to end, but
not so quickly to sink.
Everyone is three thousand miles
away. Not just you. But you’re the one
I feel the loss of most. Even the dead
write to me on their blank-eyed paper.
Stories of the afterlife, in small rooms,
waiting for me to come to them.
Prodigal daughter. But you, alive,
send nothing. Receive nothing.
Notes in a bottle are eaten by the fish
returning home. Smoke signals blown
away to ash. Gravestone rubbings
indecipherable to the living and loving.
And so I write this letter over and again.
And so I fold it into a paper plane and throw
it into the sky. And so it falls. And me.
These grass stains on my knees, this dew
in my hair, this dirt lining my lips.
I say. I say. I say. Bring me water.
I have so much on my brain today that I’m not sure what to even say here. Mostly that work is kicking my ass, that I’m both inspired by the daily creative work and feeling overwhelmed by it, and I sometimes feel like every word I write is written alone.