Letters found deliver an unintentional message. A sestina
|Frayed, faded ribbon of muted mauve still embraced the folded letters
I found under the eave of my Grandmother’s home.
Yellowed linen paper, nestled between pale lilac sheets, wearing a coat of dust.
How long had they been hidden here, and who had been the ones to write?
Grandfather bought this house in 1927 and it was old then, he told me.
Before I lived, I pretended many lives up here in the dim, grey light.
Remembering a gown of green-sprigged calico, parasol twirling in soft evening light.
Piled trunks became thrones or ships, chipped wooden hobby-horse bearing me
Off to distant lands where harems sifted desert sands. I would write
Vagabond tales of gypsy maidens, of pirates digging through the dust
Of long lost island treasures. Then as night stole dark, I’d return home
To washing dishes, practicing the art of writing cursive letters.
Then came the dark time. Flying through shattered glass blinded me
And I could no longer play dreams in the attic, nor see to write.
My grandmother was traveling around the world. She sent letters
Meant to stoke imagination, but I wanted fire and light.
Over time, grey shadows danced but it was like looking through dust--
The grains of sand scratched my eyes bloody. I never left home.
Seasons cycled around. At long last, spring breezes lifted dust.
Glasses replaced bandages. Grandmother died. I missed her letters.
Darkness haunted, locking doors. My pretend places abandoned me.
Seeking horizons not bound by walls, I eventually left home
On a journey to rediscover who I was, now searching for inner light.
Kaleidoscopic voyages blindsided by unseen horrors: too cold to write.
Lifetimes passed peopled by grown children gone, I wandered home.
Soul quiet now, I perused ancient words penned by those long dust.
Starving times lead to steerage births, escaped the famine to prejudicial light
Of distant shores, trampled by strangers. Her courageously inked letters
Shame my past indulgences. Reclaimed from ancient dust, I write.
Amputated hero warrior leaves septic words commanding me.
Childish nightmares fly naked down cobwebbed corridors and I write.
Shedding scales of indigo shadows, my pen fashions the language of light.
My story begins and ends with a disjointed journey home
As concrete walls and worlds collide unearthing the essential me.
Far past the buried treasures I sought in my youth, those faded letters
Revealed a truth beyond any I once sought, waiting there, silent in the dust.
If, perchance I’d found those letters, as a child in my home
I can but wonder if the dust that clouded my will to write
Would still have choked, enveloped me, or dissipated in the light.