“Letter to the Woman Who Stopped Writing Me Back” by Jeffrey McDaniel

I wanted you to be the first to know – Harper & Row
has agreed to publish my collected letters to you.

The tentative title is Exorcist in the Gym of Futility.

Unfortunately I never mailed the best one,
which certainly was one of a kind.

A mutual friend told me that when I quit drinking,

I surrendered my identity in your eyes.

Now I’m just like everyone else, and it’s so funny,

the way monogamy is funny, the way
someone falling down in the street is funny.

I entered a revolving door and emerged
as a human being. When you think of me
is my face electronically blurred?

I remember your collarbone, forming the tiniest
satellite dish in the universe, your smile
as the place where parallel lines inevitably crossed.

Now dinosaurs freeze to death on your shoulder.

I remember your eyes: fifty attack dogs on a single leash,
how I once held the soft audience of your hand.

I’ve been ignored by prettier women than you,
but none who carried the heavy pitchers of silence
so far, without spilling a drop.

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