By Kathleen Flenniken
You still send letters though you are dead
and because you are free of the US Postal System
they arrive anytime—
in the car at a light as I watch an outnumbered mother
holding back her wound-up children from the street,
in the middle of Australian costume dramas,
or while I forage in the pantry shelves,
famished and not even hungry.
Here’s one now, praising me
for little songs I made up on the piano,
my lavishly romantic Valentines, and recalling
our annual excursion to the dog show
where once you let me eat a Twinkie
and we impersonated for each other
elaborately ponytailed and pompommed
Every morning a letter arrives,
smelling of coffee and bacon
and plans for the day, describing the clouds
as you always did, but now
from the other side.
Kathleen Flenniken is the author of two poetry collections, Plume, a meditation on the Hanford Nuclear Site, finalist for the William Carlos Williams Award, and Famous, named a Notable Book by the American Library Association. Her honors include fellowships from the NEA and Artist Trust, a Pushcart Prize, and a 2015 residency at the Bloedel Reserve. She served as the Washington State Poet Laureate from 2012 – 2014. “Shield” previously appeared in Signs of Life, Facere, 2014; “Brooding” previously appeared in The Mom Egg; “Another Letter About the Weather” was previously published in Stringtown.