1 Before he left for combat, he took care of everything: someone to plow the driveway, cut the grass. And the letter he wrote me, just in case, sealed, somewhere, in a drawer; can't be opened, must be opened if he doesn't return. I feel for my keys, hear his voice: Less is better. Late for work, still, I linger at the window of the Century Florist, a bowl of peonies, my face among the tulips. 2 Last Mother's Day, when he was incommunicado, nothing came. Three days later, a message in my box; a package, the mail room closed. I went out into the lobby, banged my fist against the desk. When they gave it to me, I clutched it to my chest, sobbing like an animal. I spoke to no one, did not apologize. I didn't care about the gift. It was the note I wanted, the salt from his hand, the words.
From The Warrior: A Mother's Story of a Son at War by Frances Richey. Copyright © 2008 by Frances Richey. Used by permission of Penguin. All rights reserved.
Frances Richey is the author of The Warrior: A Mother’s Story of a Son at War (Penguin Books, 2008) and The Burning Point (White Pine Press, 2004), winner of the White Pine Press Poetry Prize. She lives in New York City.
Date Published: 2008-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/letters