Chain letter


I’m writing a letter to you, grown woman, though I know I’ll never send it, I’m writing a letter to you and you’re so far away, you’ve always been so far away, you remind me of my father, just looking at you is like looking at my father, and I often look at you in my mind, I’ve no other option because you’re so far away, you’ve always been far away, and my father’s gone and you’ll soon be gone, too, and do you ever feel like you gain just as much as you lose? Perhaps as you get older you gain less than you lose and when you’re younger you gain far more than you lose, that’s why losing is such a painful revelation to the young, and that’s why I feel as if I gain exactly as much as I lose, for I’m halfway through this life wearing the smiles and scars to prove it, I’m thinking of you, grown woman, wondering how it’s all come to this, me writing you a letter I’ll never send, a letter I wouldn’t even think of sending, communicating with you is so peculiar. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m far away and you’re right where you need to be, I’m the far away one while you’re in the right place, so close to everything. I wouldn’t be surprised, remember when I was a child and you’d come to visit from far away and it was like vacation for me, we used to go to the park together and you told jokes and gave us your paintings but still I felt you were so far away, I never knew you and still don’t, you’re so far away, but despite the distance I still love you and don’t know why, we rarely interact and it’s just like with your mother, my grown grandmother, she’s always been entirely too far away for me to love her, and yet I do, very much, and can’t really say why. I live in a tower of my own inventions and the world continues to roll its odd course despite my protests and I find it heartbreaking that family members so far from one another can love and think of one another and not even know them, not even know why or how or even when the planet will cease its sleepy roll, thunderous vibration and concussive intimidation, this is my life up here in the tower and maybe one day you could visit, we’d have vacation and go to the park, I’d tell you jokes and give you my paintings and things would be like they’ve always been but somehow different, I’d see you as a grown woman instead of the teenager, the young woman I remember from my youth, and you’d listen to me as if I were an adult, independent and healthy, a thinking man in the digital age, we’d talk about my dead father and you could tell me lies about him, tell me lies about him. Meanwhile we’ll have plenty of time to sit and not say any words and grow closer as the days grow longer and the roll slows to a crawl so that soon the sea hisses and rocks and overtakes the land, the sea is all there is, and we’re already making progress up there in your tower of inventions, the airplanes and rockets and e-cards and I’ve never understood your hairy armpits, my mother and my sisters always told me it was strange for a woman to have hair under her arms, but I’m sure you’ll get to that in time, we’ll get to everything in time, I’m certain of it. In the tower we feel the sway of the Earth beneath us, and we’re no longer far away up here with all my books and the memories, do you remember when I was a child I would hate when you came to visit from far away because I had to sleep on the couch, I was displaced and now that we’re up here in my tower of books and memories I can tell you anything, this is how we minimize the distance between us, we shrink the miles from the west to the Midwest, which is where you are, or where you were before and after you’d travel from far away to visit, we’d go to the park and we’d tell each other jokes and we’d make paintings in the wet dirt and as we dug with sticks we’d find trash and once we’d even find bones, old bones from old hands from people our age who dug too long, but we won’t do that because we can’t even dig here, way up here in the tower of the world’s consequence, we’re here and yet so far from one another, and I’m sure you’re out there somewhere not reading this letter I will never send.

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