Letter to Dead Lover
What is morning like where you are?
Does the sunlight split into slabs of citrine,
like the segments of an orange?
Is there horizon?
Is there sky?
Here on earth, I try to harness
what I think you’d miss:
the smell of pine tree sap, the sensation
of warm laundry against skin,
the bellow of the bells in the clock tower.
I send these things to you wrapped
in the paper of my yearning,
but like boomerangs, they always land
at my feet.
Is there something up there that makes you feel
like you felt when you moved with me—when we were one
body, running for the nearest bomb shelter,
trying to escape the force of our own blast?
From your height, our world must look leopard spotted,
with clouds of smoke erupting at uneven intervals
against the canvas of the atmosphere.
You and I were not the only combustibles.
Is there war where you are?
Are there guns? Are there grenades?
Here on earth, I saw a man grind the head of a pigeon
into pavement with the heel of his spit-shined shoe.
I picked up the body that the pigeon used to wear
and wept. I cradled it against my chest,
and when a passerby cautioned me against disease,
I told her I’d already seen our kind of plague,
and it didn’t come from the body of a bird.
Where you are, do people cradle pigeons?
Do they cradle each other?
Do they take the bones of what someone else has broken
and see something worth saving?
Are there nightmares that hang you with a noose
woven from the fibers of your own regret
and if there are,
who is there to cut you down?