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Dear J.,

I wish someone would explain to me how I can feel close to and protective of a person I’ve never met. I won’t ask you to explain it because you’re seeking your own phantom explanations for the world’s wrongs and ills. How are you feeling today? would be such a bullshit question, no? I won’t ask it. When I think about you, I think about poems and electricity. I think about how you messaged me daily while my microscopic early son was tied to machines, how you lent me strength, unsolicited, and never asked for it back. How does someone do that for a stranger? How does someone recognize a kindred among strangers? I’m (re)learning these things after a spell of being a stranger to myself, my bruises in all the dirty mirrors, my weird flat stomach an hour after giving birth. Here’s what I think: that at a time when I couldn’t even work a breast pump, you plugged your own heart right into his incubator, from thousands of miles away, a generator during my power outage. Heartbeats and blood, and the machines that read them; humanity is too much. Real talk: your kindnesses still reside in one of my son’s dimples, in the ring finger I use to hit PERIOD when I write I love your heart. I wish I could reciprocate with the explanations you need. I wish that people who look like me in mirrors were better. That’s three wishes and I’m out now, so I accept that anyone can be a non-stranger, that people are kind, that I can let them in again, that the absence of a formal handshake is not the absence of blood. Love letters are lessons in blood-letting. Be well, my friend, and re-charge.

xo S.


Love letters to my Facebook friends project