Apr 27, 2010

Letter to M

Written by Susan Rich

Read by David Shattuck

with a line borrowed from Nellie Sachs

If I could, I would protect you from your own sorrow;
from the frayed ends of welcome mats, the crush of 5 AM

traffic, maple trees and the stock market’s long descent.
I would shelter you from mortgaged rooms that open

inward and deflect the day’s inglorious path to pill-filled
nights; pensioners along the promenade, the foghorn’s

amorous cry. Mostly, I would harbor you from appetites
old — young — your hopes rife as wildfire to disarm

any woman for an hour, a grope never more
than an ottoman away. In Thailand, they say a generous

heart is a water heart, but today tears don’t come that way.
You say, I can’t make love without music, as if this were revelation

made into art — praise song for what rhythms your body prays.