after a postcard, April 13, 1908
At the edges of the card, the ink takes shine:
hold the print to the window and see
silver hover of the negative melted
in, oval as the lip of any usual light.
The smudged writing is hardly legible—
You will recognize this view of Oneida Creek—
it was never mailed to Violet in Florence
at an incomplete address surely to be updated
from a part of New York once known
to once-children. Now adults, can remember
how the boys used to delight in tipping the boat.
Can remember. I feel now the timid ones
the writer knew. They’re two centuries
off and so far east. Just children. I found the same
bend in the creek on the computer, its trees
pulled out. It’s shown in winter.
There are so few shadows in its water
in the view, now, until people cast
them. Then, the leaves were sharp far and blurred
at such closeness to the taker
that, though lacking context, I can tell
it was high summer as he stood in greener shade.
I think he can look backwards and recognize me.
With love, they’re all with love, every card
I’ve saved from the trash for my dollar—so much
of it written out, not sent, but endless on its way
both to and from the dead,
and I can assure, yes, assure you I did my share
of the screaming.