local_library Letter to a Man

by Kristen Roach Thompson

Published in Issue No. 197 ~ October, 2013

I want you to burn my things.

I know you keep a box of me

in the basement of your father’s house

hidden in a panel of your truck

or buried beneath azaleas in the yard

where your wife will never see:


a red matchbook from a Texas hotel

sketches of cacti and western suns

blocks of sage incense

strips of birch bark and flecks of mica

sun-bleached valentines

boarding passes, revealing photographs

my recipe for Irish stew.


I think there is a button,

coatless and lonesome

and a lingering brown hair.


If there are thumb-torn letters

from countries and lifetimes ago

I want them to bleed kerosene

and for you to bite a match.

I want their stamps to dance

at flashpoint from a

gas can tainted black.


I want to fly up as Utah ash

and come down Kentucky rain.

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Kristen Roach Thompson is an MFA candidate at the Bluegrass Writers Studio, and Nonfiction Editor of the journal Jelly Bucket. Her basic needs are food, water, and a good pen.