From: LOVE LETTERS TO MELVILLE
Dear, these days, it seems like scientists discover a new planet each month. The news
stations show pictures of bright spheres, swirling in gases, billions of years old, reeling
around their own small stars. They are beautifully formed things. The universe keeps
getting bigger, the stars take forever to die, everything expands endlessly, and it seems
like you and I are the only ones who remember our smallness.
Let’s meet in another space-time so that I can place my hand over that movement in your
chest. I will tell you about what I have been reading; we will lose track of the afternoon
until the mosquitoes bite, take our blood with them. Our voices will rasp after all that
talking, and we will be silent and together, before the fissures form, and we know we
must time travel back to where we still don’t belong.
Dear Herman, I keep listening to the same song, over and over—it is about a car sailing
away on the ocean. It was made to speak the feeling of this particular hour and reminds
me to be angry, that my lungs are full.
I keep thinking about that time I walked along the beach and came to a scene in which a
body lay neatly on the sand, bright towel covering from the head to the ankles, an officer
standing around talking to a few people. No caution tape, no flashing lights, no
onlookers. The drowned man’s feet looked so small, I thought he was a child and felt
exhausted and sick, was relieved to later read he was seventy-five. I keep seeing the
sunlight they call the golden hour on the waves.
I live here in the gap of this particular moment, envy you your pastness.
I wandered into an antique shop on some tiny street in the Galata area in Istanbul and came away with two erotic photographs of women reclining on beds. I've been collecting vintage photographs for years, and think they make a unique souvenir of a place, so I always ask. The owner needed to be woken up, so he came downstairs all sleepy. He kept his collection of photos from the early 1900's hidden, and revealed them in order, each one getting progressively more risqué. I chose two classy photos and the bartering began, which always entails having Turkish tea delivered in these little glasses, talking about where we've been, family, etc. before circling onto business. It's easy to lose track of time, but definitely a memorable experience.
Jaime Zuckerman teaches and writes in the Boston area where she is a current MFA candidate at Emerson College. She is the author of a chapbook, Alone in this Together (Dancing Girl Press, 2016). Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in Ampersand, DecomP, Fruita Pulp, Ghost Ocean, Paper Nautilus and other journals. She is the assistant poetry editor for Redivider and art director for Sixth Finch.