Long Distance

Stacey Walker

Your postmark is a blue bruise

from Germany. It is smeared—

the letters blur and bleed together.

I wait hours Tuesday for your

secret dog-eared message. The smell

of smoke and pub alcohol—your dark 

ale hair and hangdog slouch.


Friday is Amsterdam-- 

your daybreak home, and soon

one from Belgium. I stack 

them, to the left

on my desk 

study how their right 

corners all bend where you 

sign your name.


Not all are even, some

are crooked and severe. I touch them

and see the cardstock fibers ripple—

how they fold in on each other, tiny layers

of paper—tiny layers of you.


Remember a month ago,

our Sunday in Eindhoven. 


Now, I rub the ink. There 

is a measure

of pressure in the lines of each 

letter, a small thumb print 

in ink, your left hand smears 

greeting my fingers

back-and-forth—I rub

memorize your Love


I want your permanence

and the long slender bridge of that L

to tangle me to you, hook me 

with its bottom lip. I want that 

from you, but next week

you’ll be speaking Dutch,


falling out of love—

falling out of me.   

In the past, Stacey has taught college composition and literature for 13 years in Southeast Missouri, but she moved in 2012, with her husband and son, back to St. Louis where she continues to write, teach, and lecture at the college level. She has taught almost 20 years at the college level and enjoys being in the classroom with her students.