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Poem: After My Grandmother's Love Letters 

"What cannot letters inspire? It is a dangerous

and contagious disease."—Heloise and Abelard


Poet, what made me do it on that April morning, leaning

across the railing of the ship, surrounded by souls,


my grandmother's love letters rising in a wisp of fog,

lanky suitors—one with a serious moustache, his eyes


absinthe green and pitying. One or more are frail,

pigeon-chested, no substance, not one capable


of taking liberties, I feel one stroke my wrist, he tries

to quiet my pulse. Poet, I should be afraid; they ask


me to leave this place, to join them. Theirs is a second

chance, a salty womb, bright trumpets and angels.


Unadorned tendrils of sargassum become our dreams,

how freeing to rest here. If letters are souls,


we have much to answer for. Poet, make an epistle

of yourself. Be adrift in your own music.

  • A poem by Laurie Byro.

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