How to Write a Love Letter
Begin with bitterness
early lemon or dying rind
like last year’s clotted
among the jars of canning.
Make it sticky, the slight
infection of eyes that follow
too close, the pharynx, the toy
boxes that held Josephine’s wind-up tiger
now lost to summering weeds
like the suck of hard candy
dissolving in your mouth.
Consider your tongue’s
desire to tip
some lover’s scales, claim
his closets for your own clumsy baggage.
In the lists and mailing labels
stamps may no longer adhere:
no risk for love without the grief.
Upon your skin (sunk deep for the keeping)
dismiss your pen and inscribe the want.