Academy of American Poets
View Cart | Log In 
Subscribe | More Info 
Find a Poet or Poem
Advanced Search >
Want more poems?
Subscribe to our
Poem-A-Day emails.
FURTHER READING
Poems by Frances Richey
The Return
Related Prose
By Hand: Lines for Mother's Day
Sponsor a Poet Page | Add to Notebook | Email to Friend | Print

Letters

 
by Frances Richey

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.
Larger TypeLarger Type | Home | Help | Contact Us | Privacy Policy Copyright © 1997 - 2014 by Academy of American Poets.