Academic journal article TriQuarterly

Between the Lines: Three Letters

Academic journal article TriQuarterly

Between the Lines: Three Letters

Article excerpt

I) A Late Flowering

So brittle is this letter you unfold - its words a sand- piper's blurred, skittery step - it seems to sigh.

At first, headlong in this passage and hanging on each syllable in that, her voice rang out.

Out of that swell - hush hedging it as of winds listening a harmony arose

you swore no time will take the measure of. But see! The sun you thought her words

had fixed? Developing between the lines, negatives collect you had no inkling of.

Her dress whipped round, riptides erupt. Brine, everywhere spraying, spouts belated tears.

II) And If the Winter Wind

could drive this letter to whatever distant place his mother dwells in now, surely she would understand that he, despite the final wranglings, the silent years, still cares.

Perhaps a route taken when he was a child will lead to her?

He had read that an African stamp he owned, long as it stayed new, came only to face value, but sent through the mails, would greatly appreciate.

So digging a deep hole in his backyard, he buried the stamp, then, watering it to speed it on its journey, waited the months - or was it years? - delivery must take.

Now, exhumed from some hole in him, his letter asks, "Can you forgive ? …

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