Letters to a John

Written by Luna

Notes: Mostly, they're not mine. Props again to the Spoon River Anthology, the Dead Poets Sisterhood, and Jess, most of all. Please send feedback -- and huge, huge thanks to all of you who feedbacked Kay's installment.

Esther Feinberg Munch

That's right, go.
Go to New York, run away
From another woman, another
Marriage, another life.

You never listened to me anyway.
Years ago I said:
Don't be like your father. Marriage
Is a sacred trust. I tried
And tried to teach you to behave.
You complained I was too strict -- I always
Had to be on my guard with you.

You never listened. And you shouldn't
Have married that silly blonde
In the first place. You're your father
All over again. Meshuggeneh.
I give up.

Helen Rosenthal

I remember a rounder face,
Darker hair, thicker glasses. Your eyes
Behind the lenses were sweet,
But I was in love. I'm sorry.
It didn't work out, George and me, like
We thought it would. Our son...
But we had a beautiful daughter.

That day, on the sidewalk,
You got knocked down for my
Sake. That day, in the garage,
I wish someone could have protected me.

I never forgot you, and it's
Really too bad we didn't meet again
While we could still talk. Thank you
For loving me, and thank you
For praying for me.

Gwendolyn Devissey Munch
(1947- )

We were too young, Johnny. You said
I was cold, I didn't really love you.
For heaven's sake, I was nineteen
Years old. I hardly knew myself.

And I had known you
For less than a year. Of course
I loved you, but I was playing house,
And you were playing
At being a revolutionary. Don't kid
Yourself that it was more than that.

Don't call me cold. Don't think I don't
Still miss you, from time to time.
People shouldn't get married
So young, and people like you
Maybe shouldn't at all.

Maria Nerizzi Munch Durano
(1951- )

Growing up, my mother warned me
About handsome Italian boys, the ones
With fast red cars and faster
Hands. She never warned me
About a Jewish guy in a beat-up
Blue Volkswagen bus.

You were everything
I thought I wanted, older, funny
But serious, smart, charming.
We listened to the Velvet
Underground, drank cheap wine
Stayed up too late at night. Twice,
We thought I was pregnant. You were
So relieved. I hated you for that.

I left you for an Italian
Man with a black Camaro. My son
Is twenty-one now, my daughters
Nineteen and sixteen. I'm a good
Mother. I got my life right,
The second time around.

Nancy McCormick Munch
(1946- )

You were a challenge,
I thought, the day we met. You
Walked with your head down,
Told me about the women who broke
Your heart. You needed me.

I had never been married, after
Two engagements and thirty-seven
Years. I thought you were the one.
I thought we were happy. You'd just
Been promoted to Detective.
It didn't change you. Neither did I.

You slept with that redhead. It made me
Feel like dirt. I hated her, I hated
Myself. I'm glad I hurt you back,
Glad I added my name to the list
Of the ones that left you,
The ones that got away.

Felicia Lagerfeldt
(1957- )

You told me a hundred times
I was beautiful, and you were right,
I was. I am. I'm twelve years younger
Than you, but it looks like twenty.

We never stopped fighting, except
To fuck, and talk, and fight again.
You drove me nuts, in bed
And out of it. You were patronizing
And sexy, cruel and stubborn and

You said I was too young to marry
You. But you were wrong, John,
You weren't grown up enough
To handle me.

Alyssa Dyer Sheffield
(1954- )

Between weighing the hearts
Of victims, unattended deaths,
Innocent bystanders and teenage
Junkies, I tried to measure
My own.

You wined and dined me, turned on
The charm. I liked it. You made me
Feel beautiful, which isn't easy
When I'm wearing a dirty lab coat.
But, God, my roommate? I don't think
Anything I've seen, fifteen
Years in this job, was that low.

I married my stand-up
Comic. He's charming too.
I love him for it, for not being
A cop. We go to France
When we need to get away. He loves me.
He will not break my heart.

Billie Lou Hatfield McCoy Munch
(1947- )

I don't understand
Why you left me, why you
Went so fast. I don't understand
Why you married me at all.

I didn't pressure you. I wasn't looking
For another husband. But I liked you.
I liked us together. I thought
It would be fun. It was. Why
Did you panic? Why did you tell
Your New York friends I was
Unfaithful? What are you hiding from?

I like to think you didn't leave me,
You left Baltimore. I'm just a casualty.
Life goes on, then. Be free. Have fun.
Think of me sometimes, that's all
I ask. I know you will. That's how
You are. At least, I think so.
I never claimed I understood you.
And I never will.

* * *

End. Feedback would be, as always, appreciated.