Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

“Ghost Writes a Postcard to His Wife”

Gaylord Brewer is a professor at Middle Tennessee State University, where he founded and for more than twenty years edited the journal Poems & Plays. His most recent books are a ninth collection of poetry, Country of Ghost, and a cookbook-memoir, The Poet’s Guide to Food, Drink, & Desire. Both titles were published in 2015.

Ghost Writes a Postcard to His Wife

Obverse, a landscape typical of our region,
although replace vines with genial hill
of yellow colza, full-bloomed, and replace,
if you’ll permit, wheat heavy-grained
for harvest with its spring nativity,
knee-high and verdant. Replace cleared field
with ersatz lake from flood, the single
sparrow—just there—with raucous score
of black-faced gulls who know no difference.
Replace, my love, silent tractor with
plough hammered to sword on a forge
of eternal fire, the chapel with bombed-out
hotel for the touristing dead. Substitute
old man and baguette with donkey,
braying in the violence of its miction,
the crimson peony for the flowerless thorn.
Then, fair girl, we may share perhaps
one scant moment of this country to which
I have returned, one presumption of joy
or sorrow at my arrival. Indeed, replace
card itself with the errands of your day—
your sweet, living day—my faded demands
for a sorry last attempt at remedy.
With no address, no stamp, no kiss, no
signature ruined in ink, I will send this
to you, dear one, into the lost and urgent sky.