Sunday, September 2, 2012


At the post office, I dash a note to a friend,
tell her I've just moved in, gotten settled, that

I'm now rushing off on an errand — except
that I write errant, a slip between letters,

each with an upright backbone anchoring it
to the page. One has with it the fullness

of possibility, a shape almost like the O
my friend's mouth will make when she sees

my letter in her box; the other, a mark that crosses
like the flat line of your death, the symbol

over the church house door, the ashes on your forehead
some Wednesday I barely remember.

What was I saying? I had to cross the word out,
start again, explain what I know best

because of the way you left me: how suddenly
a simple errand, a letter — everything — can go wrong.

Natasha Trethewey

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