All day I am walking to the square
in the sun. I don’t know what to say.
I’ve begun the letter but it lies
on a black tile in the sitting room.
It has been five years
since the child. There’s no reason
for delay. I sip tea, plead
with the bargain-marker, sass
the servant-girl, but no luck.
I take a pinch of chocolate, search
birds’ tracks at the corners
of my eyes. No one knocks.
So what keeps me here?
It has taken this long to write.
Now, even you expect no reply.
That is as it should be.
I write to tell you I am alive.
What else is there? All the devils
you see in the air mean nothing-
this you know, so I write to assure you
you are not mistaken, your skin
is where you are not, around me
tight as stays. If I picture your face,
there is nothing left but this:
my stomach flowers as it once did.
I have not forgotten yet.
From Afterimages. Poems by Cathryn Hankla.
- Google books. Afterimages, poems by Carhryn Hankla. Retrieved on May 15, 2011 from http://books.google.es/books?id=MANvuJ3aFwgC&dq=a+lady+writing+a+letter+vermeer&source=gbs_navlinks_s