My works are also published in:
A Chaos of Angels
College of the Redwoods Good Words
Mothering Magazine
Poetica Magazine
The New Verse News

Monday, September 25, 2006


In an old row house in Queens, a house built to look like all the other houses: a flowering bush in the front, a cherry tree leaning over the garage at the back of the driveway, shoved under the stairs or into a dark corner of the basement, anywhere that will be out of sight, anywhere that will keep the ghosts murmuring quietly to themselves and leave the living to go on living, lies a grey canvas suitcase with a silver metal handle and a wide metal zipper that sticks around the corners.

It is filled with letters.

Neatly penned, words waltzing
across the page in
elegant loops and dips
that belie their content.
The years are 1939, 1940,
1941, 1942.
They are almost all in German.

Anna, one of the few writing
in English, types her communications
in a hurried, though not careless manner.
She has no correction tape. She
strikes over the mistyped
letters and goes on, unable
to stop the pouring out of
words once she has begun.
“Forgive me,” she types. She
is sitting at a strange desk
in a strange city, writing in a
language that is not her own.
Everything she writes will be
read by strangers before it is
allowed to be sent. The fog creeps
in through the cracks
around the edges of the windows,
winds itself through the keys, dragging
them down.
She feels as old and heavy as the metal
before her.
Her fingers slip. She back-spaces,
and retypes.
“Forgive me for telling you this,
when you have just lost
your own parents.”

She forces the keys down, each
letter leaving a furrow in the onion skin paper.

“But you are my best friend,” she types
“Shall always be my best friend.”

She beats the words into the keys,
splatters them out
onto the clean white page.

“If I didn’t tell you, I don’t know who
I’d tell.”

It is easier this way. Her body doesn’t have to understand yet, when her hand is not forming the words. There is no chance of an accidentally stained finger which will remind her throughout the day of what she had just said.

There is nothing here. Nothing but
the clack clack on the walls of the empty room.
Nothing but a machine churning out
clumsy, disconnected words.


At 10/09/2006 12:08 AM, Blogger Joan Dobbie said...

Beautiful, Gracie. Just Beautiful.


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