Dear David Evans III, of Newton, Mass.,
Your Nanna sent you alligators in full color, their huge jaws
clutching the back seat of a black man’s trousers,
the man down on his knees, praying for the pearly gates
to swing wide back in 1951. Did you laugh at your Nanna’s
sense of humor. Did you think of Road Runner?
Were you happy for Nanna and Gramp’s beach vacation?
Her crisp waves of cursive, bland words—
grand weather, arrived here yesterday—her ink
of insidious intent. Implicit consent. Do oblivious
and hostile come down to the same thing?
Davy, if you are alive and read this, please let me know,
was it you threw Nanna’s card into the consignment-store bin?
Do a thousand alligators bewilder your dreams?
Are you all thought out?
Do you sleep at night unburdened as the boy you were?
Or toss and turn?
And let me know, if you would, your thoughts on forest fires,
whether drought or because someone’s dropped
a match, and how they spread.
Wendy Drexler’s third poetry collection, Before There Was Before, was published by Iris Press in 2017. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Atlanta Review, Barrow Street, Ibbetson Street, Nimrod, Prairie Schooner, Salamander, The Maine Review, The Mid-American Review, The Hudson Review, The Threepenny Review, The Worcester Review, and Valparaiso Poetry Review, among others; featured on Verse Daily and WBUR’s Cognoscenti; and in numerous anthologies. She’s currently the poet in residence at New Mission High School in Hyde Park, MA.