Kathryn Douglas

Three Master Letters
After Emily and Lucy Brock-Broido

Had I Removed All Things Past,
I Would Swear It Not So

Late summer


Where have you been? I long for—Danger—the unshavenness. The sunflowers grew this year despite a crop of weed. Half—of the hydrangea—blooms brown & old, but there is an inexhaustible supply of New—blue. Blue, as I have never seen your eyes—They say the eyes are windows to the Soul.

Was it you bent me to that overarching Small? Tell me if this was a dream. I can scarcely tell the Waking today [now].

They say a hurricane is coming—to Florida. I have never been. This is why cruises are not so Dear—this time of year.

I know you like me—to write of the seasons, rhythms, and this is why I speak of the Moon—in Fullness. Last night She startled me. A low cloud blew away and She drummed my floor boards—with Light—then, just as naturally—went Away. Tell me, could sun be as rhythmic? As startling? I hope my bold questions will not offend. I trust you to discipline with candor, because as in All things tendered openly, Truth will not depart from its own Beauty.

When I was a girl at your hip, I gave you my chest for safe Keeping. Now—in my daughter’s sneaker box—here—I put the Remembrances in. I swear they will not be removed.

As for the Alive, I—
am—swelteringly mine—

Had She A Daughter—
Emily Would Have Forsaken—

early Fall

Recipient Unknown—

Is it my daughter, now, you take Away? I planted a corkscrew hazelnut this year, an odd, twisted tree. The nurseryman says it is most attractive in winter—in Spring—when the leaves have gone. Demeter would have agreed.

You asked about my education—my mother hasnt read a book in fifty-five years—I believe—the last was Nancy Drew—a mystery. Yesterday my daughter phoned to say she loved me. She read The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood & had—an Inspiration. My mother has no need for books—she loves me despite the Great—& Minor—Works. I fear I paint me Circuitous in reply—because it is All I have [tonight, anon].

Why must She always be leaving—She?
Where does She—Go?

Last night on Seinfeld—George—covered his baldness with a toupe to court a woman. Do you think this was right? He was upset to discover that the woman was also—Bald. I admit his shock was delightful—deserved. First the chill—then laughter—then the letting go.

Henceforth, I am—
only a being—

Proof of Life* Is Not—Cold
Enough For Me

early early Spring

Dear Master—

I am trying to write more—Coldly. The chill of winter has not yet left the garden, though the crocuses have begun their Ascent.

During the movie last night, I secretly hoped the hero would Not change his mind about Not helping the heroine save her husband from the South American gringo bounty hunters. There was no Insurance for the hero’s Rescuing service, and he was—Initially—all about Money. But when he left Meg Ryan in the fictitious country, Tecala—& returned to his comfortable British Isle [life], her eyes—haunted.

I was frigid. I prayed for a Russell Crowe of All Business. Then, the movie would have been fifteen minutes & I would have had a Good Night’s Sleep.

Does my coldness—Please?

[I had a minor terror that I pray you will [not] punish me for—when the husband was reunited with—His Meg—I would have Taken the lovelorn hero{Crowe}—to my bed of pink azalea]

I am affectionate, though chilly. I have knocked every icicle with a sharp stick from the eaves, & planted them—Deeply.

I long to hear how it is—that you, Arctic daffodil, see—


* A Hollywood production, c. 2001, starring Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe