Envelope Poems

May has always calibrated the tension of transition as students wait for the last day of school and families converge to celebrate holidays. This May feels especially tight . Across the Atlantic body, Ukraine and Russia wage war and here, at home, bodies do what they have always done: tried to stay alive.

Lorde’s words, “Poetry is not a luxury,” are regal pines, green though every season. But for me, this May, they bloomed with truth. I needed a night of unfettered, playful writing to process and reflect on a busy month. Inspired by Dickinson’s Envelope Poems, I settled on a project to put the junk mail on my desk to good use. These are the raw poems from my evening of necessary poetry.

I was surprised by how the form influenced my writing. The deconstructed envelopes created space constraints that seemed to expand rather than limit my process and the plastic crunch of address windows dictated line breaks out of their noisy necessity. This necessity in structure and content echoed a common theme in my little collection of poems: preservation. Apart from discernment, preservation evolves into hoarding. Artful living and writing relies on the paradox of resistance, a dogged insistence on mastering the act of holding on while letting go. These poems are still in their infant form, but I sense they may mature into something more mature in revision.