Anne Michaels - TO WRITE

because the dead can read
because she thought everyone came home to find their family taken
because the one closest to her cannot speak
because he drew love into him from each body he entered
because they are keeping her from him
because the last time they met he misunderstood her absolutely
because a finger can hold a place in a book
because a book rests in a lap
because words are secrets passed one to another on a train, the same train where
letters were crammed between slats to be found by strangers
because they recognize each other over huge distances
because everything political is personal and not the other way around
because forgiveness is not about the past but the future and needs another word
because the true witness of your soul is sometimes one you’ve scorned
because it is possible to be married to someone who died many years before we were born
because he painted the intimate objects of their life together not from observation
but from memory; though surrounded by the teacups, the flowers, the garden, he
retreated to his small room to paint, each object transformed by love
because words are mirrors that set fire to paper
because every day she risked her life for him
because he remembered this too late
because he was mistaken
because he was certain
because certainty and doubt consume each other like dogs in a parable
because of a Sunday morning in London
because of a cemetery in Wales
because of a mountain and a river
because he imagined himself an orphan
because an infant cannot carry herself
because of drawings on fax paper
because she sends her SMS with broken thumbs and an empty battery
because to be heard we do not need a pencil and we do not even need a tongue and we do
not even need a body
because the one who holds the pen, even if it’s too dark to see the page and even if
the ink is his own blood, is free
because an action can never be erased by a word
because we set down what we cannot bear to remember
because we cannot take back what we sang
because the dead can read