Letter #2 by Erik Carlsen

I once scoured for white rocks
And mistook their name for

There is a bar where women get pregnant
Across the channel from the dock

There is a tree where dogs go and lay down
Because the roots gather water
And they can lap up the water
While they are in the shade

She ran out of gas on the highway
And hitchhiked home

Her father said nobody kidnapped her because
She was already crying

She didn’t know what running out of gas was
So she cried

Eating a raw carrot is okay
A line of butterflies on your windowsill is a good omen
A row of owls or just one is a bad omen
They brush shark’s teeth with regular toothbrushes
Things are scary when they don’t have whites in their eyes

I could have said
Sincerely but
I would have to mean it

I accidentally took a salt shaker from a diner
And when I walked back in to return it
I walked out
With the pepper

I bathed your mother when she couldn’t
And even when she just didn’t
Want to

I used a soft cloth
And a bucket of soapy water
That we used to use to wash the car

But before I brought it to her
I would rinse the purpose out of it

I put out a cigarette on myself
In the movie theater
And screamed
Then laughed

That’s how you know there is a lot of pain
A bouquet of it
Growing roots in the vase you placed it in

You even rotate it by the window
Giving each blossom even sunlight
Changing the water every so often
Watching it extend its life
As the cellophane compacts
In the garbage can

Pressing the petals between your fingers
Waiting for it to thank you

Erik Carlsen is a Junior at Pacific Lutheran University and is elated as always to be included in Creative Colloquy.