A Daughter's Love Song

By Christine Hamm

Mother, this is the lost letter
the one thrust under the door
at dusk when your room is empty
when everyone is at the table
sipping coffee recovering from
the last slice of pie

this is the sealed envelope from
that long and weepy novel
slipped under the carpet instead
of into the hands of the intended
the slip of paper trembling script
that reveals all and is thus misplaced

this is the letter I thought you
had read when you looked at me
that same night on the porch
the flies and mosquitoes burning
themselves up on the light
a cloud of insects about your head
like a wavering halo
your eyes full
of fondness and trepidation

this is the message written in
lemon juice on a paper bag waiting
for the fire to reveal itself
This is what hums between the
curses in the poems this here
and here and here
is my secret