Unsent Letter #8

A Prose Poem by Anon ymous

Dear,

Remember the night we stole your father’s car? The halo-glow of the porch light illuminated our crime. You slid across the long bench seat, told me to drive. Drive to nowhere; drive over the edge of the earth; watch the look on God’s face as we crack the horizon. I remember crickets singing louder the further we went; the hum of wind through wing windows. There was clean static from AM radio; your hand on mine. I wake, three four five times a night and you’re invisible; a shadow; a heart-shaped moth watching over me as I fall to sleep.

Love,

Unsent Letter #4

A Prose Poem by Anon ymous

Dear ,

I think about carefully writing letters then leaving them in random places:

Dear Subway Passenger,
Dear Passer-By,

Let me tell you about my lover.
She’s beautiful in that way sadness has of rounding out edges.
She likes to go barefoot; better to feel the earth tremble, she says.
She worries about the sun when it rains,
Likes to sit in her grandmother’s chair; best seat in the house when it thunders.
She believes in long good-byes and wide-open spaces. Last thing she told me was how words
seem to come alive when written by hand.

Love,

The Cow

A Poem by Kimberly A. Bolton

It was that Jersey cow what saved her,
her an’ them younguns of her’n.
She bought it in ‘thirty-nine,
right after ol Harry done hisself in,
an’ that insurance man from over in Boonville
doctored the form so’s she could git the
insurance money.
Six hun’red dollars, was what she got
to buy the farm an’ that cow with.

‘Course, she had them chickens too, ya know,
what the bank done fergot to take along with the
rest-a the stock.
Harry wasn’t even cold in the ground before they
Come ‘round collectin’ what was owed.
Corrie May didn’t bother to remind ‘em neither,
‘bout them chickens.
Her boy, Charlie, had done raised them pullets hisself,
An’ t’woulda broke his heart to give ‘em up.

So, she packed up Charlie, an’ the chickens,
them two older boys an’ that girl of her’n
an’ they lit out fer Cotton.
Corrie May bought the cow same time she laid down
money fer that broke down ol farmhouse.
Pert near took ever penny-a that six hun’red dollars.
But the smartest thing she did was buy that cow.

Aw, we all though it a darn shame what Harry done,
leavin’ her an’ them kids to go through it by theirselves,
but it was the Depression, an’ poor was poor.
T’aint no rich folk ‘round Cotton, not then an’ not now.
Poor was poor, as I said, n’ we didn’t know no different.
Times was hard, an’ more’n one man left his family stranded
one way er t’other.

But we all knew Corrie May.
She was a right smart woman, if I do say so myself.
Bought that Jersey cow so’s there was milk fer the girl,
an’ butter an’ cottage cheese.
She put the cream in a crock an’ would hitch a ride up
to Tipton to sell to the cream’ry,
just to have a little money to put by.
She coulda done better’n ol Harry, an’ that’s a fact,
Ever-body said so.
Corrie May had gumption, I tell ya.
Yessirree bob, it was that Jersey cow
What saved her.

Bearing Witness

A Poem by Kimberly A. Bolton

At Passover, it is the custom to open the door
For the Prophet Elijah in the instance that he should
Pass by and take his place at the table. . .

Those of us who survived,
Remnants of the living and the dead,
The emaciated, the sick , the starving,
Watch from behind the barbed wire
With empty eyes and hollow souls,
As liberation approached:
Tanks, trucks, guns, uniformed soldiers;
Liberation, arriving brash, loud, cheering,
Happy to have found us alive,
As if the spirit of Elijah himself was leading
Liberation through the very gates of hell to avenge
The Great Wrong which had been done here.

Liberation crashed through the gates,
And we stood out of its way to let it pass through;
Behind us, the chimneys stood, stark, soul-less,
Stained with the black sin of this evil place.
We were all that remained,
All that were left,
And what is left of our lives sifts like ash through our fingers.
We are all that remain,
Ours not to reason why,
Only that we bear witness.

Later, much later, when we have risen from the ash
To return to the land of the living,
When we have rebuilt ruined lives,
Later, much later, when we have learned to live
With the guilt of survival,
And bring forth a new generation into a much different world
Than that to which we had belonged,
Only later, much later, when we can bear it,
Will we show you the number stamped into our flesh,
Speak of barbed wire and barbarity,
Of smoke and ash,
And of indifference, the greatest sin of all.

We are all that remain,
We are all that is left,
Ours not to reason why,
Only that we bear witness.

Invited

A Poem by Clinton Van Inman

It was no accident my coming here
For they must had known long before
I wandered to their farmhouse near
That soon I’’d knock upon their door
And wait until the storm would clear.

Call it more than a good neighbor’s sense
In snow to leave a porch lamp lighted
Or post the sign upon the picket fence
For those in need are all invited
Fate could find no better coincidence.

Unsent Letter #1

A Prose Poem by Anonymous

Dear ,

There’s a mallard and his mate outside my window. The rose bushes have been uprooted, ready to be replaced. Across the street the police are in the process of arresting a woman. Her husband [boyfriend] leans against the building like he’s seen it all before. It’s difficult. I think I’m ruined. I’ll take my chances in slivers; not brave enough to flat out ask and too smart [afraid] to blow it all by being honest. If you were here I couldn’t fake it. But you’re not. You’re a handwritten letter; an untold story. Tomorrow, the landscapers will be back.

Love,