I AM WRITING A LETTER by Martha Silano

/ / Issue 18

to grief. I am thinking my letter will need a stamp,
the one from when they landed on the moon.
The mail carrier will arrive

in his royal blue shorts. I will hand him my letter,
and he will hand me a small bundle
of nothing I want.

The envelope will be neither heavy nor light.
When the letter arrives, it will open
like the swirling birth of a star.

Feverfew. A heart pin made of broken seashells.
A cup of Roma. A crossword puzzle clue.
I am writing a letter

to the last star because the universe will someday
collapse. It takes a star 50,000 years to reach
adulthood, but everything dies,

including stars. It is interesting to learn
what is expected of me.
My husband says

I am taking it very well. I told a colleague
I am managing. Like when I managed
an office, answered the phone

in a fake-pleasant voice. Grief is placing its lips
on my hippocampus, that lizard part
of the brain that still hasn’t

caught up with her death-rattle breath.
I am writing a letter to grief.
A framed photo of her

and my dad keeps sliding off the mantle,
which of course I’m taking
as a sign.

I am writing a letter asking the mice to keep their distance.
It won’t be written in a fancy font. American Typewriter,
like her gravestone, a limestone rock.

I told a colleague I am managing.
My letter of grief will fill
the mail carrier’s sack.