First Letter to Opal

by Shannon Amidon

I have been drunk for many days and now I doubt
my memory. I know the house I slept in after I did murder
was not a house of love, and the woman I woke cradling was not you.
Her back, a canvas of bruises, seemed to mirror my heart
which I held against her. I wish I could say it was an accident,
or blame it on whiskey from the still behind the poplar grove at home.
But as she shifts her crown under my chin, I know
I owe her favors. Things are foggy now, so I will not mail
this letter ‘til I can really know the worst of it. You would not understand
what I can not defend, so I’ll not ask pardon, only mercy, and a quick death
when it’s time. I do love you, and hope you can forget everything except,
maybe, the one time we danced at the laying by, all that music floating us
and the way your hair fell into my face under the stars.

Author’s note: These five poems are from the second section of the manuscript “Wish for an Unknown Color,” which tells the story of a crime of passion that takes place in the piney hills of North Louisiana. Another group is forthcoming in Willow Springs.