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About this Poem 

"Whenever I struggle to feel connected to the other human travelers that share this planet, it helps to remember that we all get to (have to) live inside these variously broken (beautiful) bodies.   Whatever I pretend to understand about intimacy and distance (and about poetry) starts there." —Jenny Browne  

Love Letter to a Stranger

Tell us of a bypassed heart beating in 12C,
how the woman holds a stranger’s hand
to the battery sewn in beneath her collarbone,
and says feel this. Tell us of the man’s ear
listening across the aisle, hugging itself,
a fist long since blistered by blaze.
Outside, morning sun buckling up.
Inside, twitching bonesacks of bat, birdsong
erupting as light cracks the far jungle canopy.
Ten thousand feet below ours, a grey cat
tongues the morning’s butter left out to soft.
Last night we broke open the sweet folds
around two paper fortunes. One said variety.
One said caution. The woman in 12C would hold that
her heart needs its hidden spark, but the man shows
how some live the rest of their lives with half a face
remembering its before expression. Who was it
that said our souls know one another
by smell, like horses?

Copyright © 2013 by Jenny Browne. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on October 9, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Jenny Browne. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on October 9, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Jenny Browne

Jenny Browne

Jenny Browne is the author of Dear Stranger (University of Tampa Press, 2014). 

by this poet

poem

every chair in the strip mall
salon where she rents

a little space of her own
reflects a face waiting

to make a change. Another
mother next to me rips an ad

for the full Hollywood wax
& here the best graffiti:

DON’T DO DRUGS, BE SAD.
They’ll grow back,

2
poem

$50 Million Rehabilitation Center Opens on Fort Sam Houston -San Antonio Express News, Jan 2007

Wheeled onto the jet leaving
my town, another soldier

whose pruned body echoes earth
liberating itself from gravity.

Inside the cave of his grey
-hooded