the moon illuminates
another time I found myself
holding a wooden box filled
with postcards in my trembling hands.
I was young and naive
enough to believe
they would be addressed to me.
Photo after photo—
London, Sydney, Bogata, Paris, Berlin,
Lisbon, Baghdad, Tokyo, Havana, Mumbai—
all written to nobody.
I dreamed of how Emily and I
might have whispered secret etymologies
to one another under the covers
the way sisters do.
I studied the handwriting in each:
how he signed his name
with an exaggerated loop
in the first letter,
the creative spelling,
the blue jokes, the references
to a heightened intimacy long ago.
Who was this baby, this darling,
this dove, this keeper of his soul?
None of them dated.
None of them mailed or delivered
to their intended.
The one letter he did send me
long shredded (photocopied first
after the blood, before the violence
ensued) is the only one that’s mine.
it’s mahogany not cedar.
It’s a smaller stack,
representing only cities
in North America: Seattle, Minneapolis,
Boston, LA, Nashville, Atlanta,
New York (of course). This time,
it’s my own handwriting
and inability to follow through.
A lost calendar with moon cycles
marked in red
lines the bottom.