Thanks for your card. I like hearing from you.
What a great picture, too: there must be
a million people on that beach in Barcelona,
so many outfits and towels and umbrellas.
And your note's wry:
"The cyber café has the cheapest postcards."
It's different these days, even a little eerie
that a postcard can be from a life
lived two weeks ago—now that the internet
has made the past and present one.
And Instagram and Tumblr together
are like the Big Bang:
you're everywhere at once in Spain,
with a toothache at the pharmacy,
sipping an icy lemonade in a park
then dipping your bandana in the fountain,
finding the darkness in you
is Goya's. But I'm so glad you wrote,
and thought to share: thank you.
Yes, I'm mostly recovered, the family's well—
though no one understands Aunt Martha any more,
which has an upside;
you know what Aunt Martha can be like.
I appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Thanks to you, I see again
the face of the clerk at the post office
in the tenderness of her hijab,
how perfectly her sigh made her lips purse
when she smiled at my awful Spanish
and counted out my change
slowly, in impeccable English,
as though I were no smarter
than her stapler. But she liked me,
I could tell: our moment was simple,
irrespective of her politics or mine.
I have been thinking a lot about the light
I glimpsed in her kind irony,
as though I could see
the unflickering living candle of her.
She liked that I was mailing myself a postcard.