Monday, October 4, 2010

Dear Henry,

I lick the flap, the sticky sweet on my tongue, and slip the envelope into the desk drawer. The secretary, my mother called it.

Dear Henry…

Each season starts the same way: Dear Henry written, folded, and left.

"Misha, come on!" Lydia leans against the car, fidgeting. She doesn't like the going. Neither do I.

Mist is rolling in, like a procession, waving gray flags of good-bye. I can smell the rain coming.

"The Chief is waiting."

I pick up my bag and my jacket. I don't mean to slam the door.

Dear Henry,

We have a journey to make, a crossing. Seven autumns now I've locked the door to my little home, left my closets and cupboards for other hands to open, left the eiderdown to cover another body on my bed. For five, I've left a letter in the drawer.

Dear Henry,

Welcome back. We're late this year, three days after the turning, and the dark steals in before supper. Cucumber pickles are in the pantry, and I left you some canned tomatoes.

Lydia's hair glints in one last afternoon sliver of sun. She drums her nails on the car door.

She tosses her blond curls and slips into the station wagon. I slide in behind Jeff, and we pull away. I know the old wagon's rattle, the sound of our little road.

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