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by Paul Rawlins

I’ve eaten fresh brown bread and yellow cheese
For a late supper, sipped peppermint tea
While I studied frost etchings scratched against
The kitchen window, and toyed with writing you

A letter. Sue, I’m doing better now
With winter. I sleep late, and I’ve burned
Half a ton of coal to ash for warmth, while
Keeping watch on half-a-dozen scrub jays

And a flock of wayward finches you lured
To the house with thistle seed and peanuts
In the shell. And how are you in Maine?
I haven’t got a stamp, so there’s no telling

When I’ll get there, and I haven’t seen a
Mailman for days. But I’m writing now
To say I’m doing fine, and to ask you
How it is I haven’t got a pair of socks

To match a suit you bought to bury me
In, just in case the worst, and how it is
I’m left dying barefoot and alone
In a summer cabin swallowed in the mouth

Of Ogden Canyon, not so far away
That I can’t hear the traffic from the valley
On a weekday, and you have taken shelter
And a sanctuary in the backwoods?