My parcel came back.
Six months and 12,000 miles in the journeying.
The woman named-tagged back behind the counter smiled gently,
Suggested I check the address,
I nodded back pale polite,
Knew the direction three times checked.
It been right, but slipped askew in time.
It was a strange to take it home,
The unexpected awkward postal veteran.
I toyed with crying,
As I split open the bubble wrap husk and found an old self,
A letter full of heart and hope,
Sweet words carefully handwritten.
There, still sealed by sellotape:
Lavender gathered in a garden summer’s sun,
Hand sewn and ribbon wrapped,
Beads rolled blue like oceans,
(treasured so much they were hard to send)
The gifts for your mum’s smile,
(That never made it).
There was that book you needed for the trip you didn’t make.
Written with love,
And there tucked in,
I found my face,
So happy as to look not quite my own.
Perhaps a younger sister.
Warmed with distant skies,
Promise-flushed in colour,
And rolling heat.
That last minute addition now seemed as a curiousity,
Beautiful and sad as a butterfly on a pin.
I squinted at the cramped crawl across the packaging,
In a language I can’t understand,
Wondering why this came back.
The moment seemed apt,
Because I still don’t quite understand.
Did I reach you?
With the seasons turn I have grown more comfortable with the questions,
With the cut away future I thought we’d have.
It still aches,
But I see it wasn’t meant,
Because it didn’t happen.
And no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
There’s a kind of comfort in that logic,
It is less cruel than silence,
Less hurtful than your hard words,
Less heavy than my judgement.
Nothing is lost.
I imagine letters from a hundred years ago,
Found in mailbags plane-crashed on snowy peaks.
Perhaps delivered to those long dead.
Names shadowed out to shades,
Remembered only in wind whispers.
But love is still love.
In giving joy,
There is little need for receipts.
All is returned, recycled in the fullness of life-flow,
Returned to sender in another season.