Letter from Kurt

As if a letter from Kurt Schwitters might arrive
one evening, coming home from work, when the children
do not hear me open the door, the television is loud
and even when I stand in front of them, they do not
move, I make myself a gin and move in to the other room
and there is the letter propped against my pillow,
imagine, I open it and out fall the scraps, the tickets,
the fragments of writing as a bus passes in the night
and the house shakes slightly I am still
holding the empty envelope, in fact there is no way
that I know this is from Schwitters at all,
I have work to do still and
the shaky handwriting of the address, I would like to piece
on the canvas but where will we sleep
and when I wake they fly from me
a sad fact I cannot know
is flowing over me like a punctuation mark
not a question mark but perhaps a grave accent
and when the phone rings, I expect the worst, the words
the words are speaking to me on the phone
when the phone rings, I expect the words
and they will talk to me, once, but not right now
instead, there is music, a stranger’s friend is talking to me
and there is the language-game of withholding information
but nothing is less than the hour we have now
to unfreeze the children to begin to set aside
the plates, to raise the arm as a fist
opens in front of me, as if my children spoke through me
to say there are no letters, only envelopes.
Giles Goodland

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