Laurie Kutchins has published three books of poems from the Texas Tech University Press and BOA Editions.
Her poems and lyric essays have appeared widely in periodicals, including Orion, The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, The New Yorker, The Kenyon Review, and several anthologies. She teaches creative writing at James Madison University and is on the faculty of the Jackson Hole Writers Conference.
I’m sending you this plain white business envelope
to speak any business into.
It has my present address and
a liberty bell
a forever stamp
across continent and time
I’m sending you another way to touch
reply and send.
Echo me. Reply and send
after you open
This envelope also holds
one half of a broken stone that can still remember
the agony of the quarry
rain corked inside a honey bottle
your buttons, my clavicle bones
I have not forgotten
under thirty backyards of unraked leaves.
I’m asking you
I’m asking you to subtract every new moon we’ve missed
I’m baking bread
putting some flesh back on you
I’m going to ask you
of heft from the attic
every verb is either love or survive.
In plain English I am asking
if you can feel me
as yeast and water in the flour
eggs whipped with buttermilk and butter
am I like your special guest
inside all the grids and grooves of your secret inner city?
Not a day goes by
that I don’t bake some bready something for you.
My fingers are sticky with gratitude
for honey and
yeast and pronouns and
than you and I can eat.
Sometimes my breads say thank you.
Sometimes my breads say I’m sorry.
Sometimes they think
I must have made you up.
There is no explanation
for this sense I have that what we exile
still has its own pulse in our wrist.
This is what I feel
here in my veins that dogpaddle
on the surface of my skin.
In plain English you float with me most of the time.
Is this you again
in the steam of my finished bread
in the clatter of leaves in my rearview?
This is a plain white envelope I send you.
My business cannot get any simpler.
the desert stopped me
the sky repealed its drought
I traveled so far
I traveled so far
I hope you are not living like this and I hope you are.