Letters to Rilke

Dear Sir,

I’ve tried not to send it.
Correspondence slips easy this way. Into the drawer.

There: Sweet stain under coffee rings.
The manifolds of this wooden table

are mauled now with plasticity:
(Oak fibers embedded with plastic.)

Elastic: this bone bends easy after a hundred years.
Later: lately I question the methods of synergy.

I’ve read your letters.
I know not what to say-

Cobblestones to cement, dumbwaiter
to dishwasher, quill and ink to pen,

parchment, yes, at times, and still,

anger, Death. But I assert,

progress is nothing to the stars.


Dear Sir,

The faucet is leaking again.
I’ve gathered wrenches,

water drips through in drops, plop plopping,
your words have yet wrenched me again.

I’ve tried not to write.
Three weeks and no response
is like a posthumous reply.

I blame only the post office:
letters slow due to flooding.

Rivers have risen,
resin covers like sap

against shorebeds, against the side of my glass,

Jameson, Irish whiskey, not so much has changed:

I read you on the rocks, bourbon aged,
it would be a lie to say

I always like it-
but this part: the vinegar,

the corpse washed with a loincloth,
covered in white scarf.


Dear Sir,

All is prepared and preserved, your books
no longer dressed hard and red.

(It is only fair to report, and I have learned
only too soon.)

You do not respond to despondent letters, nor call
and I presume by your lack of text

an unkind love, as if you left an imprint

of dark sky, on the last night of my reading,
and I awoke dear, your sheets folded

silver over my body, your breath hung low
from the corners, sudden, then gone, in me.

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