Coconut in the Mail

                                              for Mary

Sorry for the tardiness of my response.
I’ve been lost in thought, unable to reach you.
Your message arrived,
brown, brain-sized nut,
stripped to its rough shell,
my name and address singed on.
I want you to know I read it carefully,
held it to my ear and listened
to the mystery that sloshed within,
music of a lovely bathtub full of water.
I looked into it, great brown eye,
and thumped it like an M.D.,
heavy, oval heart in the palm of my hand.
It uttered syllables I know from inside my chest.
I fell in love with its journey from your hands to mine.
I want you to know it rests on the mantle
beside the iron my great-grandmother
dragged across the Atlantic in steerage.
It’s taught me to sing close harmony.
It speaks to me of you, often.

Ploughshares, Vol. 24. No. 4 (Winter 1988-1989)

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