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Letter from a Leprosarium

Dear monologist/friend extraordinaire:

Thank you for the complimentary copy.

We passed it around like smut or chocolate,

sorry only that the lazaretto’s

sad lack of bookmarks and gold stars

(not to mention our decaying hands)

hindered our ability to note

our favorite passages. How wrenchingly

you’ve made a malady a metaphor,

our boils and wails to social awkwardness

perceptively, triumphantly aligned.

Skin clearing up some, wish you were here;

do keep us posted on your future work.

Yours in solidarity,

The Lepers.

P.S: how well lies can pass the time.

Now blow the skin-flakes off this stinking page,

squeeze the last dewdrop from your lemon peel,

flop down on your velvet armchair and

take it from us that you have done us wrong,

done us disservice—your props could have been

a kiss, a camera and a stethoscope;

instead you brought a ballpoint and a mirror,

stored both inside that ludicrous black cape,

and when you drove up to the colony

you never left your car. You limned our limbs,

more partial to your punning than our howling;

you nibbled on our necks from far away

and from that distance couldn’t know our hair

turns white, not green. We wonder what poor wretch

you’ll pick on next; we shiver in the night

when the light dawns that we were never seen.

P.P.S: Come back again someday.

from Silver RosesFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2010
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Poems Rachel Wetzsteon

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.