Wendy Taylor CarlisleListen

Writing Home

If I could,
if this were a real letter
I would put it in the mail
I would feel it flutter in the box

It would slide into your hand
it would watch your face
I would let it tell you

about  my commonplace
about what I do and don't do
about what I blame on you
about how I lay the memories like summer table cloths
on the dark wood of each day

Relax, the real letter would say, nevermind
it's summertime, have some watermelon.

It's all right, the letter would say then
It's only someone else's lines
It's only letters, in the end


In the pasture behind this wall, the day-glo snow fence leans
and the concrete cistern pours its gray-brown shadow
on the snow like seaweed tarnished the white sand,
in that time when ungroomed beach stretched out
as far as a kid could see, clean as a snake, undisturbed
in the early morning when waves shimmied to shore
and gulls complained to the few people legging along the tide line,
far past the jetty, in that dazzling emptiness
beyond the tall chairs with their red and white floats,
their block letters spelling out:
                                                SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK
away from the scattered towels, in the hot vacancy
of the years before I came to this motel,
a wild stranger, studying the drifts, in a time
when the soles of my feet still burned like little suns



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