A box, a drawer – bundled letters stored
deep inside walls, now forgotten fade with
ledgers stacked in a leaky shed, stained

by dust and water. Whose time have we
stolen as this century accelerates, squeezes
into a decade? What next, a year or week?

Like pickup dogs, tears streak our cheeks –
we cannot look back like Lot’s unnamed wife
for fear of falling out, missing the next turn,

next bomb. Not quite Palmer, his hand
flowed legibly forward, innocently across
unlined sheet after sheet like furrows full

and level across vineyards at home, dutiful
son, stateside before the Bulge, before we
knew him, before his scraps of hieroglyphics

he could not improve. How hard the words
came: deep cut letters slurred together
we could not read and he could not say easily.

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