Stuffing envelopes with kind rejection,
a paleness in the act of letting go,
I feel each crease and cross, admire
stamp, source, origin of paper.
Rarely is there a style that surprises me,
but when there is, I can’t help but wish
the work had surprised me which came
with it. Instead, this is the bright end
of the task: a pile of paper in which
I half-apologize for lack of space.
Though there is no lack. What I want
is brief and understood, still the pain
is bearable. Once, I looked down
to find a peculiar gift: a silken case
of linen, inked line to lip in pale green.
I hadn’t seen such a glorious mouth
since childhood. I put my dull note in,
savored the moment of sweet glue.
There was then another beneath it
in the random stack. I checked in case:
one in Kansas, the other farther.
I dared not wonder at the chance. Instead,
imagined the epic chain of circumstance—
two ships nearly passing in the fog.
I could have held them there, but let them go,
the room itself becoming darker, near end
of the postal hour—but what I had wanted
was brief and bearable: a pain to set on another.