Dear J. (who would probably never friend me on FB, but still…),
Even a love letter can intrude. He taught it to me, he’ll teach it to you. This letter of mine knocks lightly its lacy feet at the driftwood door of a house I can’t believe is still standing, sheaves itself into the cracks I remember, put there, filled even then with missives. I imagine you sipping coffee on the porch like I used to, dawn an out breath you didn’t know you were holding. Last week when he had you drop my son off, we shook shaking hands. I saw the bruise on your leg, I guess I should say, and I won’t ignore it like your neighbors ignored me, but I won’t pretend to know how you feel, either. That you could tell me. A crush of anger clawing up your throat? Or are you stunned mute and distrustful of me? (Who wouldn’t be? He is no writer.) This little flare means well, I swear—it’s no fight, all flight. It says, run. It says, please don’t feed my son seeded berries. Mostly it says wait, I remember, don’t run, it’s worse when you run, and does he kick your puppy, too? I don’t mean to push or shame or savior complex, but my boy watches more than cartoons the few days he’s with you. I want him safe, I want you safe, and your daughters, too, and there’s no map but I have stories, volumes to read to you. The books are shadow, leather, portal, mother, shotgun. They are phone call. They are my scrawled phone number pressed between the cars between my palm and yours, unlikely high five but this shit is bigger than both of us. They are here take it while he’s not looking. They are put it in your phone under an alias. They are use it. They are use it
if when you need it and I will answer.