Nikia Chaney

ripping the letter

is a
to it. this
letter is to
it. this is a
letter written
down and sent
to it. this letter is
to be read by it. this
letter is a question, a
timebomb. this letter smiles
looks to it so that it can breathe.
this letter’s smell will blur and sting.
this letter’s feel, for it, is heavy. this is
Edward’s letter. this is Jeffrey’s letter. this
is Richard’s leftover in the car, waiting for him,
letter. this letter is like that. this letter is made of
chicken wire pulled tight to cut out a name. this letter
is made of ice to clean out the room. this letter is pieces
of grass, of eggs of sunlight in the glass. this letter is a rip.
this letter will take dogeared hands of understanding and place them
back on road, where Yolanda can be clear, or at least love with her feet
next time. This letter, says, yes, Inshallah, but this letter is not cotton candy.
It is not that they left this letter to crawl slowly out of that place where medication
is sprinkled on shredded minds. It is not that they left this letter to it, the whispering,“I
can’t make him love me”, and the walls running with their skirts away from the war, and
the understanding of goodbye. This letter is it.  This letter, this particular brand of cure.

Nikia Chaney finds herself surrounded by very small people.  She teaches poetry classes for children and she has five children of her own.  Nikia also teaches community creative writing workshops at San Bernardino Valley College.  She has an MFA in Poetry from Antioch University, and she is currently in school for a second master’s degree at California State University, San Bernardino.  She has been published in 491, Sugar House Review, Badlands, Pearl, with upcoming publishings in New York Quarterly and Saranac.