I am dark with foreign numbers, the confusion
of cartoon-currency, the strange way
these new people move their mouths.
Too much spit whistling past their teeth
as they say your name: Alice?
And then shake their heads, no.
I know that you are not vacationing, sunburnt
on a beach somewhere, or backpacking
through dirty hostels, but it can’t hurt to ask.
I’ve become a collector of kindling. Things
that easily burn—doll hair, love letters,
the death certificate that was folded
and unfolded a hundred times. As I travel
around the world, asking shopkeepers
and tour guides if they’ve seen you,
I wish your name was flammable too.
That it could burst out of my mouth
and not come back. That it could
turn itself into unrecognizable ash.
That I could smear that gritty powder
across my skin and wear a coat of it.
How can I translate this into something
you can understand? The only language
we share now is light. So I will write you
a letter. Translate it into Morse code,
flash my bedroom lamp out the window
accordingly. At the end of the letter I’ll sign
my name. I’ll leave the light on.
I’ll let the bulb burn out.
About the author
Jennifer Faylor is a poet living in New York City with her pet goldfish Edison. She has her MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence…Read the full bio
Issue 14 · February 2012
Table of contents
- From the editors
- Postcard Prose
- Travel Notes