Friday, March 1, 2019

You Never Wrote Back

I wrote you a letter with my finger
on the fogged-over window of the car
as we drove from Santa Monica to Silver Lake
Drove right into the storm, hoping to speed through it
and burst into the sunshine on the other side
But it seemed to be traveling with us
and when you turned on the defogger
the words I’d written to you disappeared,
even though the glass was still cold, even though
our breath was still hot, and the rain
wrote its own letter on the windshield
in a dancing, splattery language
neither of us knew how to read
So we turned on the radio instead
and sang along

I wrote you a letter with my hands
across your back, up and down
your spine, your neck and shoulders,
tracing the letters slowly
but you still couldn’t guess them,
so I tried my fingernail, then a real nail,
then a tattoo gun, etching the words
in ink the same color as your skin
so even if you didn’t know what they said
you would never forget them

I wrote you a letter in water
to save you the trouble of reading it.
I wrote you a letter in ash
to save you the trouble of burning it.
I wrote you a letter in blood
on the inside of my skin
so you wouldn’t have to know
it ever existed

I wrote you a letter on a billboard, on a movie marquee,
on a sign in front of a suburban church,
on the side of a blimp. I hired a skywriter
to write you a letter in cloud against the California sky.
I wrote you a letter in a bowl of alphabet soup.
On a slip of paper inside a fortune cookie.
I wrote you a letter in Braille, in sign language,
in Morse code, in semaphore.
A wrote a letter in the form of crossword puzzle clues
but they were too hard for you to figure out.
I wrote a letter in scrimshaw on a walrus tusk,
in ones and zeros shot into the atmosphere
and reassembled on an illuminated screen,
punctuated by animated faces and hearts.
I wrote you a letter in paint on the shell of a tortoise.
He'll still be walking the Earth, trying to deliver it
after we’re both dead and gone.

I wrote you a letter and you told me
you prefer a postcard, that you really
only have time to look at the picture anyways

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