by Theodora Goss
Sometimes I write you letters in my head.
I fill my pen with imaginary ink,
go to my desk and pull out a sheet of paper
as thin and translucent as dreams. I sit at the table,
think for a minute, then being to write.
About my day, about how the clouds gathered
like a group of nuns in gray habits and hid the sky.
About how I heard children’s far-off laughter
in a playground, and then the pattering of rain
on my umbrella as I walked to the university,
where I taught my classes dutifully and well,
doing the task I was assigned, but longing
for something more, something beyond this city.
About how I was feeling angry, desperate,
then saw, beside the path through a wooded park,
the first of the snowdrops pushing their green spears
through last year’s leaf-mold, and realized it was spring.
Sometimes I tell you about the future I hope for:
a small house with a garden, a shallow pond
where frogs hide under the lily pads, a cat
to watch the fish. In the mornings, birdsong,
sunlight filtering through lace curtains, the smell
of coffee. Of course, a library filled with books,
including the ones I’ve written, the ones I’ll write.
Sometimes I tell you about my deepest fears,
of death and the dark night, but not too often.
I don’t want to bore even the ghost of you
that exists in my head, as delicate as tissue paper
so light shines through it, and it casts no shadow.
The you that is not mine, that is outside me,
with bulk and weight, will never receive these letters.
There is no postman who can carry them,
no pigeon that can find its way back to you
with a scroll fastened to its ankle.
Instead, they will fall apart like confetti and scatter
on a wind that is no more real than they are.
(The image is Writing the Letter by Haynes King.)