Resident’s Letter

for Preston

You are gone to Japan and I suffer the many reactions— confusion in a too-familiar situation, and some kind of anger, some kind of anger. I indulge myself by feeling sorrow for what I do not know and what I could not say. And we last met in a garden in a city whose beauty was crystalline, unaffected by distraction. You left with clarity, expecting nothing. I would have also gone but here I am. How could we be other than we are? It is evening again and still you are gone to Japan. I sit by an American river and I am consoled by a Japanese sunset— one river of ribbons, pale-blue and golden, a breeze rippling reflections of cloud and horizon, pale-blue and golden— and one sky filled with the many birds.

21 August 1981, Fortuna