The letter I haven’t been sending
(Allyson Whipple)

for A.S.

I’ve spent hours staring
            at your address, pondering
            the etiquette of forgiveness

I’ve catalogued deeper losses:
            Dik Van Merteen
            Mark Gobble
            Amanda Dewey

I’ve weighed my scars,
            all my hours in the dentist’s chair,
            days lost to painkillers
            the cold-snap ache of tendons

There are so many ways to stay angry,
            but I understand the heaviness of guilt

And more than that, I’ve got gratitude
            for walking, for dancing
            for the fact that you didn’t flee the scene

I understand that memory is its own
            kind of nerve damage
            and letters of forgiveness can stir up that racing pain

So please excuse me if I don’t send one;
            I can’t help but fear intrusion

Note: Dik Van Merteen, Mark Gobble, and Amanda Dewey were Austin cyclists/pedestrians hit and killed by vehicles in 2012.

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