This is a Letter

By Rebecca Dunham Rebecca Dunham
This is a letter to the worm-threaded earth.

This is a letter to November, its gray bowl of sky riven by black-branched trees.
A letter to split-tomato skins, overripe apples, & a flock of fruit flies lifting
      from the blueing clementines’ wood crate.
To the broken confetti of late fall leaves.
This is a letter to rosemary.

This is a letter to the floor’s sink & creak, the bedroom door’s torn hinge
      moaning its good-night.
This is to the unshaven cheek.
To cedar, mothballs, camphor, & last winter’s unwashed wool.
This is a letter to the rediscovered,

to mulch, pine needles, the moon, frost, flats of pansies, the backyard,
      hunger, night, the unseen.
This is a letter to soil, thrumming as it waits to be turned.
This is a letter to compost, eggshell’s bone-ash chips, fruit rinds curved like
      fingernails, & stale chunks of bread.
A letter to the intimate dark—mouth-warm & damp as a bed.

This is a letter to the planet’s scavenging lips.

Rebecca Dunham, "This is a Letter" from The Miniature Room. Copyright © 2006 by Rebecca Dunham.  Reprinted by permission of Truman University Press.

Source: The Miniature Room (Truman State University Press, 2006)

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Poet Rebecca Dunham

Subjects Nature, Fall

 Rebecca  Dunham


Rebecca Dunham’s debut poetry collection The Miniature Room, which won the 2006 T.S. Eliot Prize, opens with a epigraph from Gaston Bachelard: “The miniscule, a narrow gate, opens up an entire world.” It serves as an appropriate ars poetica for Dunham, since her poetry, as Edward Byrne has written, “continually examines the smallest details that might be overlooked if not magnified under the lens of her poetic lines.” . . .

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SUBJECT Nature, Fall

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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