A Letter Is… by Emily Guck-McGuigan

by Mark Chmiel

A letter is….

A humanly imperfect cartography of thoughts and experience
Made not for self-exploration
(Though insight often emerges from the act)
But for sending on–
Inviting,
“Imagine yourself here!”

Full of intention
And sacrifice,
A letter carries raw pieces of self
Away from the corrosive power of self-scrutiny
(hm… maybe that comma should go there instead… why did I pick THAT word?)
To a place of welcome
That makes them shine with much cherishing

Never missing the right moment,
Special or mundane,
My grandmother taught me to
Love the letter
In my first semester of college
Away from home and
Building a new self
To share

She passed away that February
But her last letter hadn’t heard
A birthday card
That found me beyond death

Later,
When we cleaned out her desk
I found myself
Stacked neatly,
With so much care
And intention
I sat, as she would have,
And read my words
Made dear by her love.

Emily in Cartagena, Colombia
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