Poem introduction

This one's a love poem.

Letter

Letter

The hornet holds on to the curtain, winter
sleep. Rubs her legs. Climbs the curtain.
Behind her the cedars sleep lightly,

like guests. But I am the guest.
The ghost cars climb the ghost highway. Even my hand
over the page adds to the 'room tone': the little

constant wind. The effort of becoming. These words
are my life. The effort
of loving the un-become. To make the suffering

visible. The un-become love: What we
lost, a leaf, what we cherish, a leaf.
One leaf of grass. I'm sending you this seed-pod,

this red ribbon, my tongue,
these two red ribbons, my mouth,

my other mouth,
- but the other world - blindly I guzzle
the swimming milk of its seed field flower -


"Letter" from Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems 1965-2003 (Wesleyan University Press, 2003), © Jean Valentine 2003, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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