Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2022  Vol.21  No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Ghost Letter
after Jean Valentine

Here is the Japanese maple gone
purple with fall and underneath it

the ghost letter I mean to show
which is somewhere been thigh

and hip bruised years ago but still
there which is not how bodies work

but how perennials persist year after
spring after summer and how each July

my thigh bruises again—either blooming
of its own accord just there and splotched

or I drop half the ping-pong table on it or bash
into a metal pull I didn’t even know about

like the first bruise at first and anyway gone and here
are bamboo shoots nosing out of the ground like

clawed creatures invincible to pulling or weather—
each new growth a reminder of hardy old ones

and that underneath lives another ghost letter only
I cannot read the writing or hear the voice

or its particular diction, the slur of memory creeping
up and out of the earth and into the mind.  

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