sad letters from up North

she writes a letter every year or so speaking
unclearly of her life, she sags in her words.
I know that she has a husband she has almost
always been faithful to, and 2 or 3 children
who fill her house while her husband is working.

she used to write poems that were good.   now
she still writes poems but the poems sag.

I can no longer read her poems and it would be
unkind if I answered her letters, although I
don’t expect you to understand this.   she signs
her letters “love”.   many people do this.   I am
more careful with this word.

she is dying underneath her life.   it was safe
and good enough for a while, especially safe:
afternoons of wine with the literati while her
husband worked at what he did, she worked with
art, she worked with creation.

and now her husband knows more of life than she
does, mainly because what he was doing he didn’t
try to do.

her husband and her children are non-existent
in her poems.   I can’t answer her letters although
I can’t expect you to understand this.