You’d handed me the thing

because I’d asked to read your letters,

made in Romania—

not that you’d been there yourself,

but from an aunt, you spoke,

half-crazy. And

because it was a puzzle,

you said: Open it.

You spied my crooked digits—

you, the gentler bastard

—fumbling the sloped and starry curvature

amalgam of wood—first the

easy way, the attempt

at prying apart the obvious,

the physics of hinges:

but, nope.

Then I realized the trick:

a thing to do with these panels

that slide, burnished, flecked and striped

the cherrywood brown

of cherrywood. First to go

being that longer one

along the bottom

that I thought

held the front to the top.

Eventually it fell apart,

Revealed itself like

A castle of cards once

My knee hit the table.

The key was in the corner.

Inside were your letters.

Two of them, which I

read, poorly written

boring, juvenile, and sad

though I said, at the time,

that they were cute.

Later that night we

kissed a lot,

held each other’s flesh in

nervous pinches. At

one point my thumb

made a railroad of your

spine. Back then,

it had been a while.

I hope you’re doing fine.

I’ve heard you’ve done a play

Or two, had something

special with someone else

somewhere else or


Right now I’m in an

empty room, square shaped

with a ceiling near Valhalla.

The walls are brick

But the frame, I guess, is wood.

I sleep with girls now. I have lost

my cell phone. I have since

met folks from Romania,

or Bulgaria, or somewhere like it.

On train tracks I have gone

back and forth, home then here

then home, where I’ve wondered

how you’ve been.

The point being: no offense,

but I hope your box is

still near-empty, or

at least that there’s room

for something like this

that’s mine. So please

do not take this

for jealousy, but: Hi.


Here, it is the fickle, moody rain itself

ripping flowers from their stems—

magnolias. Not the pink children,

nor saffron bees, not even the squirrels,

famous for their blackness, for their

brains, for their voices, and so have

been called talented, labeled special,

donning staples through the ears.

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