Autumn Sky Poetry - Number 1

Dear Mrs. Browne

I am nine years old.
I rise at six.
My lunch consists of vegetables.

Thank you for helping me,
for sponsoring myself.
I tend the vegetables
alone now.

This letter is mailed to you by me.
I walk eight miles to post it myself.
I was the youngest of five.
My favourite fruit is dessert.

I do my homework on Tuesdays.
The man comes with rice on Fridays.
The rice is for me alone now,
I give him a kiss.

Please do not tell the Sisters
that I send this letter to you.
They will not approve.
They are the senders of letters here.

The man who comes with rice
kissed a cut on my lip today.
He used to kiss my mother's mouth
on the days he came with rice.

He says my cut reminds him of mother,
that blood tastes like metal on his tongue,
like water from a rusty can.
I wanted you to know this.

The new year begins in March here.
Please write and tell me how it is
you celebrate where you are.

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Smith Browne

Smith Browne (occasionally called Stephanie, for reasons known only to her passport) was born in Jamaica, raised in the U.S., and lives now in England with her husband and son. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and is completing her doctoral dissertation at Princeton on gothic, savage, and cannibal imagery in 18th-century British travel literature. Formerly an instructor in English for the City University of New York, she currently reviews film and literature for venues such as The Times and BBC Radio.

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© 2006 Smith Browne