“Letter from my Mother” by Corey Mesler

She puts quotes around
my name—
Dear “Vlad”—
as if she’s only joshing.
This is not a real letter.
You’re not my real son.
She speaks of our
last telephone call;
of the bats
and their messages.
‘So glad everything is
well with you
and the band of gypsies
who took the pets.
When are you going to
fix your house, half
sunk into the soft
soil of Memphis? I spent
a good hour
talking to your dead father.
He sends his best
though his best
was never food enough. I
loved him I guess
in my way. I will let you
go now’—as if the
letter were shackles—
‘tell the children
they still have a grand-
mother. Tell them
to keep up with the news-
papers and their
intricate peculiar arts and
crafts.’ She signs
her name without
quotation marks, be-
cause she believes in herself.
She believes she is Mom.

Corey Mesler is the author of eight novels, three books of short stories, three full-length collections of poetry, as well as numerous chapbooks of poetry and prose. He has two children who shine brighter than gold lamps in the green night. With his lovely and more centered wife he owns Burke’s Book Store in Memphis, one of the oldest independent bookstores (1875) in the known universe.

Image: Hannah Jackson

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