The Unanswered Note

The suicide note, like my father sober,

says little


will stay folded I presume

in the dresser Mother keeps bank papers

and report cards.


But the other note sent my freshman year

hasn’t found its place,

pauses between sweaters,

parachutes from overdue books.


His words flicker:

            So proud…

       So sorry I’ve not…

                          So bright your…

If I could look

words in the eye,

smell their breath…


Must a word slurred be tainted?

Or is my doubt the shame?

A letter never

answered but still read.


The capital B’s sturdy,

mark of his name.


I crawl      into the bottom loop,

think of the word bridge.

In both paperback and book art editions of Opening the Mouth of the Dead

Published in RHINO