Para Ana

Para Ana is an epistolary chapbook dedicated to the Brazilian poet Ana Cristina Cesar. Comprised of standalone poems and fragmentary missives, Para Ana is a fugue on "sending", a letter that is read by everyone except the 'dear'est.

[Para Ana]

Para Ana,

I am writing this letter to you though you're already dead. You died before I was born, so long dead. I am a year younger than you when you jumped, and I know I won’t fear that at 31, but I know the feeling.


[The Call Is Complete]

The call is complete: the car drowned at the Point. Ice that doesn’t break me, but cracks like a toenail on concrete

[I am writing to you on a suggestion]

I am writing to you on a suggestion. I am writing to you because of the way you died.

Heaping Elephant Ears In The Cornfield

Tongue to tongue, spilling out powdered sugar, we whinny with our lips, stamping out the echo that isn’t music. Try not to lick this greasy dough, this fairground treat issued to your mouth by both hands.

[Ana, this is a love poem but also an anti-suicide note]

Ana, this is a love poem but also an anti-suicide note. I wish you were alive to write the letter you didn’t.

People seem to forget how hard it is to kill yourself on purpose. My psychiatrist told me she learned from a surgeon that it’s hard to kill a human. I want to say that I agree with the surgeon not anecdotally but experientially. I won’t go into specifics, Ana, but I think you know what I mean. I know that a body’s desire to live is an instinctual strength, a strength very much tied to panic. I know the only time to live is in the present, and if you are in the process of actively dying, the present’s acuity intensifies. You chose a very quick death, Ana. Perhaps you should have given yourself more time. It’s not less violent, Ana, to choose a slower means. Suicide is the ultimate violence against the world as it’s against yourself. 

Ana, I have changed my mind on self-determination.


[Ever Since I Came Back I Think]

Ever since I came back I think

Daily about your voice on the phone

Certain. At times brutal.

I was desperate.

No, I no longer want anything to do with you

I imagine someone else: I take a nap and sleep alone

I ask my friend’s opinion

I cycle through the options. Grip my jaw.

Finger my two passports, the green sky

I leave my keys in the apartment, get a treat

I massage saliva into my leg, smell my finger.

I pick up some toiletries, a pack of bandanas.

I scratch the inside of my eye and watch the setup for a film

Funny the number of belated conclusions:

I should have known then when I thought I lost my ring