LETTER TO ELI
In last night's dream, you were a crumpled paper
in my hands, your asymmetrical wings
unfolding as you took to the sky,
a small wounded bird unable to fly
a straight line. The sun illuminated your body,
and I saw for the first time
the bullet hole, dark and round, barely missing
your heart. Then I understood
your incessant need for sex, for prayer,
for uncooked food. The fields
surrounding my house went vacant for years.
Nowadays I inhabit all the places you dwell.
Sometimes I lean my ear to the ground
and hear your voice cajoling black
ants to finish tasks they've begun.
I spend my days hunched over
the kitchen table, making paper boats
that might carry me across the river.
I long for the land of lost ghosts
and incomplete shadows. Surely you know,
I write our names on each boat.
Inside crayon hearts, Eli, we are still in love.
Jayne Pupek is the author of the novel, Tomato Girl (Algonquin Books), and a book of poems titled Forms of Intercession (Mayapple Press). She resides near Richmond, Virginia.