Notes From the Past

by Craig Foltz




Dear T,

I remember the way the sun beat down on our bodies and how it turned our skin different colors and when we stayed out too long, how we felt nauseous. And that night, after the bonfire had died down and the stars came out, we looked up at the sky and asked, "Is that the best you can do?" 

Dear T,

The oranges are just about ready to eat. Some of them have fallen off the tree and they are scattered all over the yard. Oh yeah, I got the recipe for the cobbler from my mom, she says, "That ain't no way to treat a lady." I think you know what she means.

Dear T,

No, you are right. I can't believe it has been this long. I only have two questions. Do you still use that eucalyptus leaf as a bookmark? And, are your eyes still falling hopelessly to the side?

Dear T,

I never asked. I can call you "T" can't I?

Dear T,

The painting we had framed? No, I don't know what you're talking about. Oh yeah, maybe.

T,

Of course I remember the songs we played. In fact,  I remember the order that we played them in. It was August and there was a heat-wave. The subway was always late and we forced ourselves to sit in the car without any air conditioning. "It's just like being in a sauna," you said. You said, "The fat is peeling off our bodies in layers." When we got off we thought we were so skinny we thought that we'd have to run around in the shower to get wet. 

T,

I remember the weekend softball league and the team of punk-rockers taking on the national anthem. I remember the tattooed team of losers and the team of competitive corporate types who tried to move in. I remember the soundtrack to the Matthew Barney film and, just before we fell asleep, reading the Jeff Wall interview aloud to one another. And I remember the night that the cafe burned down to the ground.

Dear T,

Thanks for your response. Of course, I'll send the photos. And the letters. And the tee-shirt too if you want it. I never washed it and it smells funny besides. 

T,

I never told anyone our secret. Though I think mom might suspect. She's been letting the bills that the hospital sends pile up in the corner of my room. 

Dear T,

There is a man scraping the paint off the outside of the house. The noise it makes is excruciating. It makes my teeth hurt. For some reason I keep thinking he reminds me of you, though I'm not sure why. I'd like to flirt with him from behind this window, but I'm not sure that I remember how. 

T.

Did I ever tell you about how I fantasized about knocking your teeth out? And how the wind would whistle like a train through that open spot in your mouth? You'll be happy to know, I'm back on my medication now. My mom has fixed up my sister's old bedroom and I spend most of my days up there pasting old memories into scrapbooks and looking out over this archetypal countryside. 

T,

Have you gotten this far? I don't think that I'll be this happy. Not never ever again.
CRAIG FOLTZ has published in numerous journals including, most recently, Denver Quarterly and the 14 Hills Anthology New Standards. A poetry collection of perforated picture postcards called The States has just been released on Ugly Duckling Presse. Currently, he lives and works in New Zealand on the slopes of a dormant volcano.
The Adirondack Review
The St. Lawrence Book Award
The St. Lawrence Book Award
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The St. Lawrence Book Award