National Poetry Writing Month 2020, Day 20

The napowrimo.net prompt for day 20 is to ‘write a poem about a handmade or homemade gift that you have received.’ I acknowledge the prompt, but otherwise go my own way.

None of that kind of stuff fills my drawers,
hangs on my walls
in nice frames with museum-quality glass,
or drapes around my shoulders
on chilly winter afternoons.

Oh, I’m plenty sentimental
under the right circumstances;
I’ve just been slow to catch up
and admit how I feel.
By that time, patience is exhausted
and the letters don’t come anymore.

I remember the truth that arrived one day
hidden in plain sight, a code
shared by only you and me.
I let it go—I now know too soon—
I should have waited another
thirteen or fourteen years.

Then I could have asked you
if you still feel that way now.

(Do you still feel that way now?)

I did once print a page you’d sent
once when I was feeling low.
It was just a cheap frame I’d put it in,
held together with tape,
but I kept it on my mantel
to remind me.

(Do you still feel that way now?)

Somewhere I do have part of a keychain—
I’ll find it in a box when I’m looking
for something else; the ring broke off years ago…
I’m always reminded of that line
in “Photograph” that says you’re not
coming back anymore.

I’ll never get to wonder again
if you still feel that way now.

I don’t want to get too sentimental;
I know I’ve been slow to catch up
and admit how I feel.
And I know even patience has a lifespan;
all good things come to an end,
and the letters don’t come anymore.

(19 April 2020—posted April 20)


Wishes sometimes have consequences—available to order from your favorite local bookstore!

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