Letter to Severn, No. 1


Painting by Severn Eaton

After Fathom

Believe me,
it is a red river
where sparks rise
and move past
your shape,
which is floating,
lifted and floating,
hair and body stretched long,
and where all thoughts
are simply quiet animals,
stirring slightly
in their sleep.
If one should yawn
and wake completely,
that would be okay, too.

Tell me how long
you have waited
for these red fathoms.
For some, fixed levitation
is just another word
for clairvoyance.
For you, it is a slow current
to an estuary,
red and wide.
Anything is possible— the red
sky, his loyal friend—
arched keeper of the infinite—
is ready.

Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams is the recipient of the Whiting Award for her book The Man Who Danced with Dolls and her memoir-in-progress, The Following Sea. She has also been awarded the Rona Jaffe National Literary Award and a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship. Her work has most recently appeared in the Oxford American, the Pinch, Southern Humanities Review, Carolina Quarterly, Mayday Magazine, Flash Fiction, and elsewhere.

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