Friday, August 16, 2013

A Letter

Plaza Blanca

A Letter : with special thanks to the writers who joined me for a week of hellos and goodbyes, classic letter writing, and wonderful experimental letter poems. If any of you are responsible for this winged letter of note, I thank you.

Sarah Atlee, Terrye Bullers, Sylvia Karcher, Alice Byrd, Debbie Allen

Dear Friends,

Yesterday I had a haunting visitor. A large moth had pressed its body against the screen door and it spent the day there in complete stillness. I think it was a Pachysphinx Modesta, a nocturnal creature which should have spent the day sleeping on the bark of a pin oak or poplar.

Its presence made me do things a little differently -- enter and exit through the back door, shoo the birds away, dig around in the nearby Hosta beds, meet the mailman at the curb so he would not disturb. I paced the day by a different clock as well -- abruptly stopping whatever I was doing to check on the welfare of this napping symmetrical pattern.

It had startled me at first because from afar it looked like a Halloween bat. An early omen. Up close its wings were perfect twin paintings of desert mesas, what we call the painted skirts out in the canyons of Ghost Ranch. They matched the pocket rock I borrowed recently from the wet stream bed of Plaza Blanca. Those paper-thin wings could have been picture jasper in another incarnation. The quietude was that of chimney rock. The wasps buzzing around it in the afternoon made me nervous, the little buzzards.

Modesta showed no fear. Her day was night. She seemed alright with that. Nothing seemed amiss except that I had a giant moth.

This is how it is when I return from the Piedra Lumbre Valley. Notes arrive, letters of no advice, no big news really. They are written in cloud script, to the tune of rain, or, as in this case, a bit of moth borne hieroglyph. Then they disappear like invisible ink on onion skin, and I am happy to be home again.

Sincerely (wishing this were written with a fountain pen)