Letter

By Hugh McMillan

Here is a letter
come across the ocean
over the back of a world
curved like a whale.
I unwrap it, like tissue,
and sentences spill out,
as though the seal on a jar has broken,
coils of cornflower blue
on paper thin as shell.

I saw a sailor’s valentine once
in a museum in Nantucket Sound,
a mosaic of broken scallop
glued in a compass rose.
‘Writ from the heart’ it said.
Words come best like that:
in ink or blood,
when the source is from a major vein.

I read, and understand this much:
if ink sees off time and miles, then so must love.

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