A careful hand

A tidy notation next to the address
(Dec’d 7/25/2011)
I guess she must have been four years my junior
I know she was younger than me.


We are traveling in another country
when we hear someone shouting
and see a woman beaming and waving
across the hotel lobby.

They were friends in high school.
Parted ways in 1938.
I ask, “How could you have been so sure?”
She says, laughing, “I would have known her anywhere.”

First the stroke.
The rehabilitation.
The letters came, once with a picture from 1936.
The year her friend was 16.
Somehow survived through the war
through the camps
through the loss of everything
except what you could carry.

The neat Palmer method
has breaks in the swoops and curves
but the laughter still rises from the pages
signed with love at the bottom
No need for a name.

In the address book
Just a dozen names aren’t lined through
Notations (dec’d) besides many
A careful hand.


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