by Bethany Champagne
you should write letters to the newspaper.
lame letters that are forcefully witty yet lacking in
about things that don’t really matter.
get positively irate about something written
in the style section.
you should write letters to meredith baxter-birney so
you can be like me.
you should write letters to your unborn child telling
it how much unencumbered fun you are having because it
is, as yet, unborn.
you should write letters to the person who lives in
the apartment next to yours telling them how lonely
as you are,
by the steel and concrete and plaster.
how many nights you lie awake thinking
about clawing through the walls until your hands are
bloody and raw. just to remove the barrier. just to be
you should write letters to a friend’s dog. post them
to the dog’s name and tell the dog how much you have
been admiring it from afar.
how you catch glimpses of it on its morning walks and
how you love the way it turns around and playfully
bites on the leash sometimes.
how you think of that moment during your work day.
how it makes you smile.
you should write letters to me. tell me all of the
things you’ve never told anyone.
tell me the things you keep in the cracks, the things
that shame you
to the core.
i’ll read them wrapped in my fur blanket with candles
i’ll use the fire to burn them, slowly, ceremoniously,
when i’m done. after i’ve brushed them
across my mouth.
i’ll take them as my own, put them in the cracks with
the places that hold memories like
that time i ducked down to tie my shoe,
embarrassed to be in my grandpa’s car
as we idled at the red in front of my high school.
how i thought of that moment minutes after he died.
the places where so
many little emaciated faces still call to me.
brown faces who will grow up hungry and
tired if they grow up at all.
i will put the words of your letters there.