Christopher Apfelbach

Rookie (July 1,1990 / Burlington, VT)

To Whom It May Concern


I write to inform you
that the combination
of turmeric, cilantro, and mint

that you slipped into
my head chef's tureen
of crème fraîche

caused the poor man
indigestion bordering
on the botulistic,

and that the pepper
left behind for Jamison
to snort from his dish

has instilled in him
a mortal fear of the sound
grinding peppercorns make.

It may be of further interest
to you that the sculptures
you installed on the ramparts

of my heart crumbled
and broke, falling down
in loose torrents,

breaking the scaffolds
and killing several engineers;
the bereaved families are crushed,

of course, though in a
slightly less literal way
than the others were.

In fact, you blew out the
very foundations of my heart,
right down to the caverns;

several neighbors have remarked
that dust is still seeping
from gopher holes miles away.

Since I never invited you
here in the first place, stranger,
may I ask: did you come to

my heart with ruin on your mind,
or was it merely an afterthought,
an errand that happened

to occur to you while
folding a sundress,
brushing snow from the crocus—

or even as you kissed me?
At any rate, I feel it is
my duty to tell you that

assassins will not be
poisoning your rain barrel,
and that I have called a halt

to the stampede that
would have driven your horse
over a cliff this Tuesday next.

No need to thank me.
I find I cannot hate you
as I probably should.

I am faring remarkably well,
all things considered:
there is a lighthouse

next to the sea where I live,
a sandy patch of coast
that is more within my means.

It has neither spires nor
any grand ballrooms,
as my last home did,

though there is no denying
that the view is more commanding.
Pastimes are scarce here.

I fish, most days, half-buried
in breakers; I have begun
to write poetry on the walls,

and one or two murals
are showing real promise.
The thunder and I

have become fast friends—
he sends his regards, by the way.
And if, by any chance, you should

like to visit me here sometime,
just talk to the waves—
I gave them my forwarding

address when I vacated
my heart's old premises.
Do not hurry yourself

on my account, of course:
the sea deepens its breath,
and the nor'easterlies

curl up on the hearth rug
like Jamison does after supper.
I am looking forward to winter.


Yours,
The Lighthouse Keeper

Submitted: Wednesday, August 29, 2012

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