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Ghost Letter

Thlopthlocco, thlopthlocco: you once described
rain striking earth with this sound, and now,

rummaging through a stack of postcards, I stop
at Letter Ghost, flip it open—nothing’s inside—

and, in the freefall of white space, I parse
if you’re among the living. The first writing

of yours, sparked by this card, was in the voice
of a woman posting a letter from Jonestown,

while your last email, 24 March 2003,
intoned, “Minute to minute, my condition veers.”

I have no idea what Klee thought in 1937
when he mixed pigment, chalk, and starch,

painted, on newspaper, the cream-colored back
of an envelope, then drew a curlicue face.

Did you ever return to Homer to watch murres
nest on islands in Kachemak Bay? Ann,

no news of recovery arrived, but you left
this word that devours silence, envelops zeros.

© by Arthur Sze

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