• ‘Self-Portrait as Unsent Lines,
    Unsent Letter’
    A Poem by Rebecca Hazelton

    From the Collection Gloss

    Self-Portrait as Unsent Lines, Unsent Letter

    Hello. Hello dear. Dear one. Dearest. Dear to whom
    my concern draws near. I write to you from Oklahoma.
    From a small town in Georgia, sweltering. Blue sky above,
    clear. Gray day, train trestles. Night with no distinction
    between the water and the sky except for stars and stars
    reflected. I write to you with the ticking keyboard
    of my smartphone. A pen in my hand. A pencil stub.
    Paper folded and refolded. Dear one, I stutter to start.
    This tongue can’t shape the words. A mouth full of spit.
    When I last spoke. When I last saw you. When I last spoke
    to you I saw you for the first time in the shape
    of the last time. Such a relief when a city block erupted
    between us, then a stretch of street, then miles, blissful.
    Still I write to you. I text. There is no emoticon denoting
    the distance between a face and its expression.
    I am enclosing a photograph. I am attaching an image.
    I no longer love the way you block the light. I am not attached
    to your feet. Every night while you slept I picked the stitches
    free, but then I had to learn to walk again. I took this picture
    of the empty bed so you’d remember the shape of my body,
    so I could imagine my return.

    From Gloss by Rebecca Hazelton. Reprinted by permission of the University of Wisconsin Press. © 2019 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved.

    Rebecca Hazelton
    Rebecca Hazelton
    Rebecca Hazelton is the author of Fair Copy, Vow, and the chapbook Bad Star, and the coeditor of The Manifesto Project. Her poems have appeared in Boston Review, Poetry, and The New Yorker. A two-time Pushcart Prize winner, she is an assistant professor of English at North Central College. Her latest collection is Gloss.

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