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Let’s just say it’s the one describing
her father’s recent illness, how just before his fever broke
his cough morphed into the sound of a steam engine
hauling tourists up the two percent grade
for one last glimpse at fall’s fading colors,

or maybe a request for money to repair her car,
the one her friend borrowed, crashing it
into a utility pole and breaking her leg
after trying to tune the radio from Country
to Rock—or was it vice versa?—

or perhaps an invitation to join the prayer chain
that her new, so-called friends recommended after discovering
her inability to make a financial contribution,
her checking account needing some kind of assistance
to grow from red to black,

or a plea to help pay for her cousin’s
prescription meds, the ones he can no longer afford
since his job and budget were downsized—
cut down with those of many others
to pay for the CEO’s retirement,

or maybe word of the warm spell
bringing rain and wind, the combo toppling
her neighbor’s dying oak—severely topped
just a year or so ago—and collapsing
the newly installed greenhouse like an umbrella,

that is, the message that was never written—
or at least never sent.

Charles Thomas lives in Tennessee. Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Poem, San Pedro River Review, Poetry New Zealand, Spoon River Poetry Review, Friends Journal, WorshipWeb of the Unitarian Universalist Association, and Remington Review have published other poems of his. He plans to self-publish a collection.