Poem: Letters Written in Longhand
Letters Written in Longhand, by poet Kay N. Sanders
Letters Written in Longhand, Kay N. Sanders, Kay N. Sanders poem, Poem about handwriting, Handwritten recipes, Poem about mother, Carolyn Porter, Marcel's Letters
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Poem: Letters Written in Longhand

I had the honor of meeting Kay N. Sanders a couple of days ago at the Fox Cities Book Festival. She mentioned this poem, and I’m delighted she has allowed me to post it here. I hope you are touched by Kay’s reflection on her mother’s handwriting.

Letters Written in Longhand

Looking through my mother’s old cookbook,
published in celebration
of Alabama’s sesquicentennial,

I come across divider pages,
the backs blank when the book was new,
filled now with her handwritten copies of recipes,

and suddenly I am propelled into her presence
just by the sight of her handwriting,
feathery lines that float across the page,

familiar as my own
heartbeat. Familiar

as her letters written in longhand,
a script that travels across the years
as inexorably as it once traced

the northward curve of the continent
to find me here in Wisconsin.
And I marvel at a thing so simple that joins

two spirits no longer present
to each other in the flesh.

—Kay N. Sanders


© Kay N. Sanders. This poem appeared in Kay’s chapbook, That Red Dirt Road (Parallel Press, 2010). Among other places, Kay’s poems have been published in Wisconsin Poets’ CalendarWisconsin People and Ideas, Your Daily Poem, Free Verse, and Soundings.