Letter to Anne Carson about Plainwater

Dear Anne,
Can I call you Anne? My friend, Jimmy, calls you Annie in his sleep. Can you believe he mistook you for me? We’re so different. You have a small strong boat. I keep trying to conjure an ark.

I stepped outside today and felt the snow without gloves. I thought of Canada. How many times have you laid on the ice? Many, perhaps. Or is that something that you do once? Then the memory re-buttons your coat when it tries to open again? I don’t know. Since we’ve been friends, questions like that have been clinging to the windows. Like burnt barnacles. Or oranges.

You talk about oranges, the blood ones, and how your Cid sliced them with a pilgrim knife until most of his face fell off. I’ve thought about that. I’ve thought about many things, but mainly how much your country resembles a large snowy stone on top of us. How flat and curious it is in the morning, when I look north on my way to the train. When I say ‘your country,’ I mean you, Anne. I mean the plates of the earth rubbing against one another. I mean that music. If you could call it music.

I’ve thought about my boyfriend’s broken guitar. The cold cracked it open while we were visiting friends. It was laying in same spot, made of the same wood, but it had changed. Is that what the cold has done to you? Does the wind slip its fingers into your mouth and pull the jaw apart? Or is the stillness of winter the problem? No. I think you might say that is the solution.

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