Elegy with no forwarding address
"The letters—about 300 in all, sent to a New Jersey minister—
ended up dumped in the ocean, most of them unopened."
—from an article in USA Today, 11/02/2006
The minister died as though he might deliver
the letters himself, his name resurrected
when hundreds of lives were washed up
on the beach. This was three years after you'd written—
a feverish scrawl scratched on tattered note cards.
By now, you must have forgotten
what you'd asked, deciding
no one was listening, that you were
a sealed envelope addressed to the wrong heaven.
Had God had finally fallen
asleep? Would you remain unforgiven?
Where was He when your lover closed
your daughter's bedroom door, locked
you on the opposite side of their secrets?
Where, when you were sure
you'd slaughtered the lamb forming
hooves inside you? Only the waters knew—
blessed with your questions, the sea
sweetened with your requests, your prayer,
bleeding on small beige squares. Your name smeared
as though beneath His heavy thumb.
Nathan McClain's poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Tar River Poetry, Poet Lore,
Sojourn, Rougarou, and Barn Owl Review. He's formerly served on the editorial staff for
Three Candles Journal and is a recent Pushcart Prize nominee. He lives and works in Southern California.
Email: nathan.mcclain at gmail dot com
spring/summer 2008 |
books and chapbooks from authors in this issue |