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For National Poetry Month: A poem from Jo Barbara Taylor


Heathcliff and Catherine and All the Others
By Jo Barbara Taylor

I found an old letter in a library book,
the stamp Brazilian, the missive
in English, a feminine hand
on monogrammed linen stationery,
now yellowed.

August 31, 1922

Dear Carlos—

            I sit on the terrace—you can picture the emerald Atlantic
and hear it slapping rocks below—my handkerchief close,
for I will use it, I am sure, before I sign my name below.
On the table, your favorite breakfast item—a chocolat ├ęclair
and your favorite relic, the rusty lock without its key. 
            The air is fever. My tears fall already like tropic rain.
I say adieu. Please do not come again. I know you ask why.
No answer I have is pleasing. I hold your heavy lock in my hand,
consign it to my heart. I taste you in the delicate ├ęclair,
find you delicious. I glance through our time and smile.
You must know I have loved.

You, ever in my thoughts—
Amelita

I folded the letter into its envelope,
returned it to Wuthering Heights,
thought of all the abandoned lovers,
me included.


Bio: Jo Barbara Taylor lives outside of Raleigh, North Carolina, grew up in Indiana, and remains an Indiana farm girl at heart. She taught English in public school for 21 years. Her poems and academic writing have appeared in journals, Including Tipton Poetry Journal and Inwood Indiana, magazines and anthologies. She leads poetry workshops for the North Carolina Poetry Society and OLLI through Duke Continuing Education. She has published four chapbooks, the most recent, High Ground by Main Street Rag, 2013.