local_library Letter From a Dead Girl

by Guiseppe Getto

Published in Issue No. 232 ~ September, 2016

The strands of my hair still tangle

in the cleats of the skiff you took me on

that day. And can you fathom I once told you

that you didn’t have to keep me awfully well,

that I could give up lots of things if I had to,

that I expected to live differently?


Now I expect the trees around that lake

will bend in at the corners a bit

when the next young thing

in velvet taffeta finds the next Gillette.

Do you think anyone knows

I told you I was bidding goodbye

to my favorite places, so earnest

was I about your return?


Good thing. I now call you Gillette

as I should’ve never called you sweet.

First I said goodbye to the spring house,

with its great masses of green moss;

then the apple tree, where we had our playhouse.

Of course, you had no accounting of why


a person would not fear poverty

on account of her fear you’d never come back.

Only courtroom sketches tell us how to name

those missing hours, which are lies,

or a lake of lies. I protect you, which is worse,

because you should’ve been forgotten

at the bottom of your own moss-grown lake.


Today the crowds gather

with you at the center of prejudice,

a conundrum. No self-described

psychics help shuffle your spirit off

like they do mine, every year.

I have begun to wonder how long they think

a spirit can remain in one place,

but that lake is filled with spirits, too.


The moment I hold onto is when the DA

came waltzing into the courtroom

with our child in a specimen jar–there’s no accounting

for taste back then. Did I die by your hand?

To be honest, I can’t remember as memory

requires a body. But my hair will always

dip down beneath the surface of that lie,

Gilette, the one that says they know, they know.

They know for certain it was you.