Letter Home

I love you forever

my father's letter tells her

for forty-nine pages,

from the troopship crossing the Atlantic

before they'd ever heard of Anzio.

He misses her, the letter says,

counting out days of boredom

and changing weather,

poker games played for matches

when pennies and dimes ran out,

a Red Cross package - soap,

cards, a mystery book he traded away

for "The Rubiyt" a bunkmate didn't want.

He stood night watch and thought

of her. Don't forget the payment

for insurance, he says.

My mother waits at home with me,

waits for the letter he writes day by day

moving farther across the ravenous ocean.

She will get it in three months and

her fingers will smooth the Army stationery

to suede.

He will come home, stand

beside her in the photograph, leaning

on crutches, holding

me against the rough wool

of his jacket. He will sit

alone and listen to "Ada,"

and they will pick up their

interrupted lives. Years later,

she will show her grandchildren

a yellow envelope with

forty-nine wilted pages telling her

of shimmering sequins on the water,

the moonlight catching sudden phosphorescence,

the churned wake that stretched a silver trail.

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