Final Letter

With it comes the salt that clings to everything:
our mouths thirsty for hours afterward.  It’s in the food we eat.
The meat that wants to return to the bone clumps in the pan,
and we sprinkle salt over it to signify finality. 

The salt falls over us and we try to clean it off: the faint
dusting over the coat, the gloves, the laces of our boots. 
We stomp our feet, leave the shoes at the door, but there are traces of it
streaked across the hardwood floor.  From the dog’s paws. 
From the cuffs of our pants. 

It takes a while.  Some days the body is so numb, it does not know
whether it is on the bone or off the bone.  We press ice to an injury
to detach it from the body.  To stop the pain, the accident. 
Although someone is icing the injuries of the city, there is no
numbing it.  We sprinkle a little salt on the steps.  The ice melts in seconds
and takes days to freeze again. 

“Final Letter” from SEDIMENT (c) 2009 by Sandy Tseng. Available on this site by permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.