“Draft of a Letter”

Click here to listen to James Longenbach read this poem. As a young man I was blessed with a body not Of great strength But very agile. Bright

Complexion, neither
Dark nor fair.
My torso, thin

From the start, grew
Wiry as I ran.
The pleasure

I derived from straightening
My room I
Never learned to will.
I feel it now.
In time,
Without trying,

I found a rhythm
Of thought ineffably
Hesitant, serene. Clouds

From the invisible
Then mist.
Rain soaked the ground
Until it swelled,
My body

Flat on its back.
Delicate fingers,
Voice fair.
In the end

I found myself drawn
To what was neither very large

Nor very small.
In heaven,
If you say the word death,
Nobody understands.