The Lyric Poem Prize
Last Night at Home (letter from Vietnam)
Why did I sit and read that issue
of Time in another room while you were there
one thin wall away, waiting for me
to come and play a game of double solitaire
or look at the New Yorker ads? I suppose
it had something to do with knowing
that you would still be there, a paragraph or so
later. Look at me now, not one who’s growing
younger, although you will remain the same.
A fragile year of letters having the same sad close;
it’s all there on paper, just as you see it,
everything documented, from secrets to a broken nose.
Why did I read...? It matters little now.
This heat has taken something from me, left behind
an unfinished sentence to remember you by.
We decided not to and, in being kind
to each other, loved more in that brief hour
than ever before, barely touching sides until
we fell into a troubled sleep. And everything,
except the aching stone of fear, was still.