Friends for fifteen years
and never met.
She sends letters across the Atlantic,
then the span of land from east to west
and into the front gates
to be rifled through,
security checked and sometimes rejected,
wheeled along corridors
and doors made of bars,
It’s always the same time
so every morning he half-waits
and occasionally is rewarded.
He reads the letters over and over,
replies in the evening
on thin lined paper,
and the next one
and the next, scrawling, animated,
asking to hear more about her life
tells her he lives vicariously
through her eyes and words,
and in turn writes his young story across the paper,
drawings, lyrics, politics,
like her own but his are condensing,
under the weight of concrete and locks.
He transmits energy from his bunk,
back through the walls and across the states,
over the waves, the country roads
and into her letterbox
in the middle of nowhere
where she lives alone
with her children.
His bright yellow letters light up their house
like paper lanterns.
Jessamine O’Connor lives in the west of Ireland. She facilitates The Hermit Collective arts troupe, and coordinates free English classes for immigrants. A new collection of poems, Silver Spoon from Salmon Poetry, will appear in 2020. JessamineOconnor.com