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The first of two very recent ones, unedited:

May 22, 2006


“Books In Boxes”
(or, “The Letter I feared Finding”)

I labor over boxes and boxes,
Books and books, marvel
At the security of the papers
surrounding me again.

My hands, dry from the cardboard
brushes, the dust and muggy
attic air, stiffened like
my bones at finding this–
one small relic, I fear:

Folded, folded paper,
Your ink stains, crowded
words I read breathlessly
five months ago, a kind of
Final goodbye you dated
December but handed over
later. I got no satisfaction
from the late-coming praise,
the “things you should’ve said.”

I don’t weep this time around
I don’t flee. I shake, softly,
And read, with distance, the
marks of Your hand.
white as the paper–
“It was a difficult winter,”

you write. I acknowledge
this truth in late spring air,
Fold papyrus, four
times–a small square–
buried in books, and boxed,
bound by volumes, banished,
confined, to keep company
with your words. The cause:
“I find they inspire me no more.”

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