The Mysterious Arrival of an Unusual Letter

By Mark Strand b. 1934 Mark Strand
It had been a long day at the office and a long ride back to the small apartment where I lived. When I got there I flicked on the light and saw on the table an envelope with my name on it. Where was the clock? Where was the calendar? The handwriting was my father’s, but he had been dead for forty years. As one might, I began to think that maybe, just maybe, he was alive, living a secret life somewhere nearby. How else to explain the envelope? To steady myself, I sat down, opened it, and pulled out the letter. “Dear Son,” was the way it began. “Dear Son” and then nothing.

Source: Poetry (January 2011).

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2011

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