Wednesday, August 7, 2013

So, how long has it been since you've received a real letter in the mail? The only ones I receive are, ironically, from Anthem Blue Cross, and they always say the same thing and they always include a third piece of paper that lists the ten thousand languages available for translation even though that must cost a pretty penny and they already know that we speak English as a primary language in this health care-exhaustive family. Today, though, I got a real letter in the mail from Rebecca. It was sealed with golden WAX, a honeybee over the flap, and there were stickers all over it, including one that read OPEN ME. I didn't want to break the seal, so I used a tarnished silver pointy letter opener that has been sitting in a pencil box since the last time I got a letter thirty years ago or so. Before I did that, I turned the envelope over and over and admired, even, the stamps. Can you believe she put a Wallace Stevens stamp on there and a fabulous Charles Demuth? Here's a poem by Wallace Stevens that a boy I knew wrote the title of on a tiny slip of paper and left on my bed in my dorm room, about as long ago as I received a real letter in the mail. It's for you today, Rebecca:

In the Carolinas

The lilacs wither in the Carolinas.
Already the butterflies flutter above the cabins.
Already the new-born children interpret love
In the voices of mothers.

Timeless mother,
How is it that your aspic nipples
For once vent honey?

The pine-tree sweetens my body
The white iris beautifies me.

Sometimes, especially when I do so in the early hours of the morning, I think of this blog as my "correspondence," in the way that women of leisure might have in the olden days. I sit down at my desk, raise my hands over the keyboard and begin.

Thank you, Rebecca, for the envelope and the stamps, for the perfect card inside and for the letter in your beautiful, sexy handwriting. I've written a blog post in gratitude, but I can't wait to wrap my own fingers around a real pen and write you back.


  1. I cannot tell you the last time I received a snail-mail letter. (Not including holiday or birthday cards, which are usually just cards with little or no correspondence.) But I remember all the artistic possibilities of letters, and your post makes me miss those! Especially stamps -- I miss the little educational moment that came with checking out unusual stamps on the mail.

  2. Ahhhh I so HAPPY to see that sentiment again. And the Stevens stamp was no accident. I know you love him as much as I do.

  3. It's not a lost art, but it is endangered! I am big on real birthday cards, both receiving and sending, a nod on Facebook just doesn't cut it.



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