Bits of paper go yellow, stain, still
like a white-whiskered dog snoring.
Few worth keeping. In spring cleaning
or down-sizing, most flutter
into the recycle bag. Then
my mother’s handwritten recipe for brownies
the letter on his business letterhead that my father
dictated to his secretary to type before he signed
signed it – first name, middle initial, last name as if
I were a customer needing a quote
four stanzas I wrote to my mother in rhymes
to put on her pillow when she was out for the night
when I was nine
my daughter’s letter about our cattle dog having killed a possum
on the back patio when I was out. Shoveling the matted-down
possum into the garbage…and two days later opening the
garbage can to find the possum fluffed up and very much alive
the letter from my friend who was dying,
each step down, toward hospice, in hospice,
a note that she slept 32 of every 40 hours.
My dream she died, email confirmation the next day.
A week later, the letter in her handwriting
to tell me what I’d meant to her with a label
on the envelope saying she gave these letters
to her children to mail when she was gone.
In the tons of paper shed daily, what these
Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet whose work appears widely in journals, anthologies and in five collections. Checkered Mates came out from Kelsay Books in 2021 and Let’s Hear It for the Horses from the Poetry Box in 2022. Website: triciaknoll.com