and here's the first letter:
there are some things in life you can't escape.
the feeling of his fingers entwined in yours,
and maybe the way the wind blows on your ears lightly,
teasing teasing teasing because it knows
you blush when your cheeks get cold and the tip of your nose goes red
and it knows
he's going to have to give it a kiss to warm it up
(also because he can't stand how adorable it looks).
she thinks that maybe there ought to be a coffee shop on this corner-
she tells him so, with a wide sweeping gesture that
knocks her scarf into his eyes
and he wears it like a mask and smiles-
but on the other hand, maybe not;
it could be a park, you know,
overlooking the bay right here, see?,
and the little children could watch the boats come in,
steaming toog toogs out to make them smile and clap and wave.
and he's watching with a half-smile
the way her eyes light up and brighten the lonely shoreline sidewalks,
he'd spend a lifetime making that corner into anything she wants
if it will make her smile for him.
there must not be a second, so instead here's the third:
if nobody was a person,
what would you say to him?
could you tell him he looks lovely in his brand new knitted-green sweater,
or would you be foolish for talking to nobody?
he thinks it's adorable the way you wrinkle up your nose
when you find one of his jokes a little too amusing,
and he thinks if you talked to nobody
nobody would be the luckiest person in the world
(also he'd be so glad you think he looks nice in his new sweater).
she points out that there are too many pronouns.
he points out that there really aren't,
just that they could mean a million different things.
or the same thing,
tracing the outline of drifting clouds
in the Philadelphia-blue sky.
the grass is soft and damp and it doesn't scratch
but it tickles,
and she wonders why bees are so obviously yellow.
i think, she tells him,
the black is to make them a little more subtle.
he doesn't know what she's talking about
because half the conversation is in her head
and half the conversation is in his
but he doesn't need to.
they talk to the clouds for awhile
and by the time they've finished
the ants have entirely devoured their picnic.
what is this now, the fourth? oh well, anyway:
the fourth of july makes me think of watermelons,
not fireworks or hot dogs or picnic baskets
or flags flags flags waving everywhere;
sticky and sweet and spitting-out seeds
all over the grass that's so long it comes up to your ankles.
and he counts as you spit them out,
a new record!, and laughs;
maybe there are fireworks
but he's smiling too brightly for you to tell.
running a finger along the edge of his jaw.
she's just decided she likes that word
because it's popped into her head and now it's staying.
he likes the way she looks when she's thinking
and he likes the feeling of her soft skin on his cheeks
and he likes the word collectively, too.
what about preposterous,
because it feels important on his tongue,
and she nods.
there never were any letters
(what a shame really, because they were a terrific idea)
but they don't really matter anyway.
what matters is what hangs in the space between them.
she flings her arms wide open and
embraces the sky with a laugh like champagne bubbling over the bottle;
he watches her spin dizzy circles in the late-October sunshine,
reaches out his arms to catch her
before she hits the ground.
i think of wind chimes and shifting tenses,
close my eyes
and reach for your hand.
this is the way we begin.