From the Writers Almanac, February 13th, 2016. Forgive me if you have already read this, it was too good not to share.
In your next letter,
by Carrie Shipers
the weather in great detail. If possible,
enclose a fist of snow or mud,
everything you know about the soil,
how tomato leaves rub green against
your skin and make you itch, how slow
the corn is growing on the hill.
Thank you for the photographs
of where the chicken coop once stood,
clouds that did not become tornadoes.
When I try to explain where I’m from,
people imagine corn bread, cast-iron,
cows drifting across grass. I interrupt
with barbed wire, wind, harvest air
that reeks of wheat and diesel.
I hope your sleep comes easy now
that you’ve surrendered the upstairs,
hope the sun still lets you drink
one bitter cup before its rise. I don’t miss
flannel shirts, radios with only
AM stations, but there’s a certain kind
of star I can’t see from where I am-
bright, clear, unconcerned. I need
your recipes for gravy, pie crust,
canned green beans. I’m sending you
the buttons I can’t sew back on.
Please put them in the jar beside your bed.
In your next letter, please send seeds
and feathers, a piece of bone or china
you plowed up last spring. Please
promise I'm missing the right things.
I can't say precisely what it was about this poem that struck a chord in me. But I was touched all the same. I think that's the way of all good poetry. That even though they are not your lived experiences, you are put in touch with your own memories by the way the words are put together.