Monday, July 9, 2012

Prompt: "Dear __, what I want to tell you is"

Dear Faya,
  What I want to tell you is
    I'm sorry. I tried to call you,
but only months after I got your
number, and I fear it has changed,
even though the voice on the other
end only says     temporarily unavailable.
   You were my companion in a cafe
 in Saint Petersburg
   wearing a uniform and speaking
   quietly, haltingly
   in your second or third language
  as I sat and missed home
   and ate Greek salad
  and helped you fold napkins
  into triangles that could fan out
  in groups of thirteen
   at the centers of tables.
  I am sorry that I only took
  you to a museum once
   that I was only a brief window
  into a life outside of your poverty.
    I hope
    that you continue to enjoy
                Bollywood movies.
   I hope
    that your hair still falls
     down your back
    straight to the waist of your jeans
    if you so choose.
  I hope
    that someone brings you flowers.
  Faya,
    teach me your language
   I would like to stumble over
     the strange words
    and put a smile on your face.
  Others are listening
    but I hope that you hear
                   that somehow
     my words can cradle you
    even if my affection
   is beyond your frame of reference.
  Soon it will be time for you to sleep
  and one benefit to being
       on the other side of the world
   is that I can
                in full consciousness
          whisper to you
                   Sweet dreams
       And again, fully awake,
             welcome you to
                 the next morning.

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