The Letter

by Andrew Posner

 

One day she arrived

Like a scab dragged across a ballad

Of iodine,

A sequin of stars

Stitched to a dormant volcano’s lapel,

And as if by sleight of hand

Or twist of fate

Came to smolder

In my mailbox, that manmade mistress

Of the gods

And the Postal Service.

 

My surprise was pulmonary,

Elemental,

Like a lava saxophone

Breathing fire

And an archipelago

Of liquid heat

Giving birth to jazz.

 

What Circe could have saved me

From an epistolary demise?

What mast could bind me,

What beeswax blind me?

 

None. Envelopes seduce

Like pastry-stuffed ovens

Suffusing stagnant air

With trinkets of butter and chocolate.

And so I stood by the boiling pot,

By the eager salt,

And read.

And read again.

 

The chaste mind is naïve.

Jerusalem

Is a postcard

Of chastened ruins

And toy guns

And faith

In lethal salvation.

But Granada,

O Granada,
Your calligraphy

Simmers in sunshine

Like the fat of

A sacrificial lamb:

 

No, no poet could appease you.

All those stanzas died in vain,

And now on my kitchen table

I sort bills and coupons

As though good credit

Could make up

For a mystic love

That left no forwarding address.

Andy Posner is a resident of Dedham, Massachusetts. He grew up in Los Angeles and received his Bachelor's degree in Spanish Language and Culture from California State University, Northridge. He moved to New England in 2007 to pursue an MA in Environmental Studies at Brown University. While there, he founded Capital Good Fund, a nonprofit that provides small personal loans and financial coaching to low-income residents of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Florida.

 

When not working, he enjoys reading, writing, hanging out with his wife and their adorable Beagle, Chance, watching documentaries, and ranting about the state of the world.

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July 2018

© 2020 by The Esthetic Apostle