Letters from the Imaginary World
Poem by Nathan McClain  •  Art by Mitchell Miller

           Were I the one to whom this letter came,
            I'd keep it folded in my coat
            As proof of the world I imagined.
                        —Jesse Ball

arrive, addressed to the
broken in spirit —to those who
coax words from the unexplored
depths of men who have waited an
eternity to speak; who have kept forever
folded in their coats.  They ask, what

grows inside the mind that
has ended its conversation with
itself?   For whose voice does it pine
just to hear its own name being
kindled again?  Images
long to be conjured from
memory since the mind has gone
numb from our great gulf
            of distance,
pressed until only our
questions drip like olive oil.  Does it
remind itself it is crucified,
stretched between separate worlds—
this world of warm flesh and the one
underneath the bone?  Imagine how you would
view yourself from here, each letter begins (a
woman who closes her notes with
x's ).  I promise you would forget

             yourself in my time
zone, she wrote.  I swear, if you'd ever write back.
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