Letters

By Russell Thornton

I threw away your letters.
Years ago, just like that.
The tight black swirls,
circles and strokes
filling fine sheets –
I would not see them again.
The last items I had left.
The dates. The phrases.
The things you said. Forfeited.
Snowflake patterns.
Leaf diagrams.
Crushed. Melted. Dissolved.
The flooding run-off
at the backed-up
street corner drain
collects it all.
Only the opening
of a strong seal far below
could allow that pool
of darkening rainwater
to run and drop away
between the slats.
If I were to recover
the lost key of the cursive,
I would in one instant
want back again what I saw
in the images
the hand traced out for me.
And would be denied
even the little
the letters kept of you
and be released
into nothing but more time.

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