I write you from my humble home
just east of the Berkshires.
Would you believe me if
I said I meant to write sooner?
The light outside is falling fast.
I try always to have a window about me,
I grew spoiled by fresh mountain air
all those days at the farm.
They seem like summer days, those days in Vershire,
half-dream and hazy, faded by the sun.
Was I always dreaming? Did I sleep the four months through?
I have few photographs, no poems, and do not remember
the content of letters I sent home.
There was snow. I don’t remember its touch
but there must have been, it was February –
the harshest winter of the decade, they say.
I was sad from March until May,
crying myself to sleep each night.
Then, the last week, I was happy.
But it was too late. I was already leaving.
Did I tell you I now work at a farm?
It’s modest; no livestock, not even chickens.
I do the work I never got to do; harvest produce I planted
but never reaped in Vershire.
Sometimes I struggle to believe that those four months really did happen.
I feel more or less the same as before I left.
In the mornings I walk my dog the same route
with the same houses and same gardens.
The same sprinklers whir
and the same children run through them.
The only thing that’s new
is a coffee shop in the center.
I still eat toast and jam for breakfast.
I talk on the phone with friends who are the same,
their hair only a little bit grayer.
Those months did happen though, this letter is proof
that they happened, those four months,
to both of us. Why is it I still don’t know how to write about them?
Why do I fail even to speak of them?
I remember the sheep, the northern edge of forest,
the pine shelter and reading O’Connor on Derby Lawn.
I remember late nights in the dimly lit common room
and wild flowers on the table for brunch.
Why can I not piece them together?
I write so late because I thought time would lead
to the gestation of more coherent thoughts.
I thought I could make sense of it all,
that I could package the pieces after
sanding their corners and
send them to you with a bow.
But it’s been nine months now,
a year exactly since we first arrived in the hills,
and if anything, time has only further confused me.
Will you be at the reunion?
Please tell me you’ll be there.
I couldn’t bear to forget you.