yellow mailbox on street
[ This photo is in the public domain. ]

Your postmark is a blue bruise
from Germany. It is smeared—
the letters blur and bleed together.
I wait hours Tuesday for your
secret dog-eared message. The smell
of smoke and pub alcohol—your dark
ale hair and hangdog slouch.

Friday is Amsterdam—
your daybreak home, and soon
one from Belgium. I stack
them, to the left
on my desk
study how their right
corners all bend where you
sign your name.

Not all are even, some
are crooked and severe. I touch them
and see the cardstock fibers ripple—
how they fold in on each other, tiny layers
of paper—tiny layers of you.

Remember a month ago,
our Sunday in Eindhoven.

Now, I rub the ink. There
is a measure
of pressure in the lines of each
letter, a small thumb print
in ink, your left-hand smears
greeting my fingers
back-and-forth—I rub
memorize your Love.

I want your permanence
and the long slender bridge of that L
to tangle me to you, hook me
with its bottom lip. I want that
from you, but next week
you’ll be speaking Dutch,

falling out of love—
falling out of me.

 
 
EDITOR’S NOTE: This poem was selected from entries submitted to our Creative Challenge, which required that the words ‘remember + greeting + daybreak’ must be included. Read other Creative Challenge winners. To find out how to participate, go to Creative Challenges.