Love Letters

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I would give my husband drawings for grocery lists,with smiling faces on the eggs, and spider feetdangling everywhere. I could draw letters too.fat senseless alphabets, lexical landscapes ofpointed trees and bloated clouds. that is how Iwished words were, with changing colours andfeathers in their spines. on road signs in mydreams, they shimmied, their Rockette heels avariegated sunburst. unlike the stiff blackknots and stakes that glared at me from envelopesand books. an unchanging and cruel exotica,like smelling Cuban cigars wherever you go orthe same screaming opera. he said that I didnot need to learn with him there, reading slowlyaloud, but sometimes in silence. that drove meinsane, he would laugh or frown at somethingon the page, and look as if he were a creepingvine on a tombstone, a coffee stain on a pieceof clean manilla. I practice learning on a stackof mail he kept in his sock drawer, and Ifinally learned dear. Dear Hank, it felt likehaving a perfume sample fall from a magazinein a sweet sudden breath. it made me think ofvelvet antlers, of his rumpled cardigan sweaterand my love for him, a word which slayed me,with its clean lines and quick exhalation,the swelling heart in its middle. I began toscream things all day long, and I felt the firstaffection for poetry through the ringing soundsof advertisements, soapbox labels and advice tothe lovelorn columns. words were heroic, hugekilling things, and they beat in my head andbled from my eyes and fingers. I would be ironing,and a giant phrase or comma would barrel intothe room, its veins bulging, its arms aroundmy waist. Dear Hank, I miss you especiallyyour sexy hands, mine clenched when I got thatfar and then some. then I knew for sure thatreading was magic, it conjured up these longeyelashes and white Harlow hair, and the guiltybaldspot and shaking dewlap of my faithlesshusband, adrift on the libretto of his privatelife. he would still read to me in his annoyingway while I squirmed on my novels and texts,that lay under the couch cushions like misplacedscissors. I drew him an elaborate list one day,of pink champagne bottles and support girdles,and wrote my first words. I left them with hisletters, on the back of our marriage certificate,I think they were my finest, I said, DearHank, the end. and right away began working ona longer book.

© Crosbie Lynn