The Burning Letter

Wading through morning's harvest
of the mail reaped the usual
bills, flyers and junk ads.

Then I spotted the familiar lazy scrawl
on the table before me.
After all these years...
a pearl among the cow pies.

I marveled at how the letter felt,
tucked into the pocket
of my bluejeans,
first halved, then quartered,
where misbehaving hands and mind
breached ceremonial rules,
not to touch
and not to want to open.

I was unable to ignore it
or throw it away.
I'm not sure how long
I walked around with it there.
I only know
it began to burn and blister
and scorch my self-control

and not until I saw the jeans
in the machine, letter and all,
twisting and turning in soapy water
was I even aware of what I'd done
to find peace.

by C.J. Heck

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