Letter

Felicity Sheehy

2009 First Prize

You tell me first about the three ladybugs
on your kitchen window—
how the light filtered under their bodies
to make them into miniature suns
and how the patterns from their wings
skimmed, for a moment,
over your hands.

It is midsummer, and the fields
outside your house are smoldering
with corn, but you,
I know, make your breakfast
of cold cereal and pills,
the milk in your bowl
tinged with fluorescent light.

You used to eat what you grew
with your own hands,
what put dirt under your fingernails:
heirloom tomatoes,
moon and stars watermelon.
It’s too cold to garden now, you say.
You mail me a drawing of flowers
and some seeds.

These are the days
when all the beauty is leaking
out of your life anyway
and you want me to have
the linens, the rings,
the bone china.
You’ll keep your TV:
its static reminds you of who you are,
sounding, from a distance,
almost like birdsong.

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