28 April, 2010

~ I Have A Letter ~

I have a letter.

“Frrrom Rrruss-ia,” I say aloud, rolling the r’s and flattening the vowels. It seems the thing to do.

The letter sits on top of the other mail on the seat beside me as I drive home from the Post Office. “Frrrom Rrruss-ia,” I say again as wait for water to boil for tea. I lay the letter on the desktop while I pay the phone bill.

It is a slim envelope bearing five stamps and three cancellation marks, resting, feather-light, in my hands. I ad
mire the precise printing, smile at the numbers formed in penmanship typical of the part of the world from which the letter originated. I tally the cost of postage, and wonder what the conversion is to my own dollars.

I lay the letter on the table while I make supper...

...and clear the dishes...

...and watch the news.

I lean the letter against the soap dish on the counter while I have my bath...

...and check my email...

...and drink another cup of tea.

Letters have had fascinating journeys. Letters have travelled by truck, by plane, by train. Letters have gone under and over. Letters have gone through. Despite the 8,054 kilometres separating me from its sender, this letter has spent 58 days travelling from half-way around the globe. It has been a long passage, so I let it rest until it is ready to share its secrets.

It is time.

I am careful to slit the envelope neatly along the top edge. Careful, too, withdrawing the letter. I devour the words, then return to the beginning and read through again, more slowly. I smile. I sigh. I return the letter to its envelope and prop it against my tea mug.

I will read the letter again tomorrow, before slipping it into the small, worn trunk in my library - the keeper of the words that have come to me from across the globe. “Frrrom Rrruss-ia,” I will say, then fasten the latch.

Peace ~

22 April, 2010

~ A Mother Knows ~
for Scott

because you hadn’t shown for days

we knew you gone
they disagreed
they asked her what was in her gut
and she said: death
he ravine has swallowed him up
she said

a mother knows

officials think not know
so they refused to look
it will all be well they said
believing wrong everything

a mother knows

you lay dead at the bottom of it
all the while
waiting and awaiting

they found you - finally - and were sorry
of course
their contrition useless after the fact

ashes to ashes

two birds
eagles maybe or hawks
rode the wind for you

or with you

floated above the tears
pressed their wings
against the sky
against the earthly sorrow
they could not ease

we let you go
with God?
with peace?

with reluctance

we planted a tree for you
dampened the ground with our tears
we dug into the soil
and changed the face of the Earth
for you
for remembrance
and for everything
a mother knows