Sayre Family Letters

It might have been that haunted cellar
her sister Rosalind dared her to go
down into and Zelda didn’t think twice
about exploring, or it could have been
out back in a shed like the one where
she began storing her paintings
after Mrs. Sayre claimed she tripped
over a stack of them, and then spent
the afternoon on the front porch
with one leg resting on a sofa pillow.
By the time her baby learned to read,
the shoebox of letters was nowhere
to be found, and no one in the family
could say where they went, but Zelda
remembered them tied by thread
in small bundles; she put each one
to her ear, and thumbed it like money.
We’re all here, the first stack told her.
We’ll miss you, whispered the last.

Copyright © 2018 David Petruzelli. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Summer 2018.