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Unexpected Letter, a poem by Laurel Smith

Unexpected Letter                                                                   
           by Laurel Smith

In a dream you swear you
never dreamed, your mother
is writing a letter left-handed
on plain paper in a cursive you
must work to decipher—so unlike
the perfect hand in the letters
she wrote you. Now an urgent

message has shaken her ability
to hold a pen, or she has suffered
a stroke and expects you to see 
the chaos, to translate her pain, or
you missed the point of every letter
she sent: her calm, cheerful text
punctuating the years while

this letter is the one
she intended all the time. 
So you focus on each loop that
tries to be a vowel, each chunk
of ink that wants to be a word
since she will not speak again
and this broken verse is for you.

Laurel Smith lives in Vincennes, Indiana, and happily participates in projects to promote literacy and the arts. Her poems have appeared in Natural Bridge, New Millennium Writings, Tipton Poetry Journal, Flying Island, English Journal, JAMA: Journal of the AMA; also in the following anthologies: Mapping the Muse, And Know This Place, Visiting Frost.