Williwaw
by J. Alan Nelson



I’m on Facebook, Twitter and email,
but I still handwrite, slowly,
letters to send to that frame house
two temperate zones distant,
halfway down that dusty avenue.
I use ink on the fine, acid-free paper
to make words with letters written
in careless style of worlds
without omniscience,
blown by wind and storm,
of lives without purpose,
and freedom to be a hero
in a universe without principle.
In that house there are chipped, white plastic bowls
that held warm Campbell’s Bean with Bacon soup.
The walls of knotty pine
glint under the old light bulbs.
Here I learn the real pain
of mythical hell and earthly church.
Here I sprawl on the old carpet
to wait on the letters I will write myself.
Then I go to the backyard
bordered by a gray cinder block wall.
I roam by the apple tree
and a sand box made from a huge tractor tire.
My mother sings a hymn in the kitchen
My father practices a sermon in study.
My clumsy hands hold my skull
as it hums
with the curse of recessive genes.





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