Only a phone call away,
only a bus or train ride,
I know you can drive,
and still you are distant.

I bought you sweets
on the way home from school,
was thrown into space
by a motorbike

and still ran
up all those flights
of stairs to the top floor
and along the balcony trailing
blood, those sweets gripped tightly
in my lacerated hand.

I brought you poems and stories,
favourite books, a nutcracker soldier
from the Christmas market
like the one in the ballet I told you about

but never got to take you to,
because I moved away
and I wonder if you ever forgave
me for having a life.

Kim M. Russell, 10th April 2017

Nutcracker 2

On Day 10 of The Poetry School’s NaPoWriMo prompts, we are writing letter poems.

Melissa Lee-Houghton is currently running a course on the epistolary poem for The Poetry School. As she has said, “sometimes all we need to be able to write the thing we most need to write is to know who it is we must write to”.

They have chosen as an example a poem by the young British poet Bobby Parker, ‘Heroin Lullaby (or Open Letter To My Wife Upon Our Separation)’. Another example is Elizabeth Bishop’s ‘Letter to NY’.



3 thoughts on “Distance

    1. Hi Hank! I suppose this poem could be about a mother and daughter relationship but it’s about sisters. Although all relationships have their ups and downs, I always believed in a bond between sisters – not any more.


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