Leonard Neufeldt

Leonard Neufeldt, son a refugee parents, is the author of seven books of poetry.  His latest collection, Painting Over Sketches of Anatolia, appeared last year.  He hails from British Columbia and now resides in Gig Harbor, WA.

 

Letters from the Ghetto

Words, only a few,
penciled in the cramped left margin
of the page, and of the next letter,
the characters minuscule,
half-formed, almost horizontal
and gathered like hurried ellipses,
the indecipherable interrupting
an off-white quiet
with a disordered feeling of time,
here and there the start of a flourish
to distract you from finding out
how much graphite has vanished,
how many the spaces where the pencil
tip left a scar

Even if you could make out the names
as you hold the page to the light,
what difference would that make?
but you’ve let them change
everything else on the page
with a pain much older
than you, a pain that breathes prayers
like unaccountable gaps waiting
for something to follow, no matter
the lost words

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