July 4, 1944
These words, I hope you understand them. I also hope maybe this letter finds
you at peace at Finca Vigía. Are you still writing about bulls and war and love?
What did Neruda say about love? What didn’t he say?
This pencil feels odd and small in my hand. I keep smudging my words,
turning my palm into a greasy grayness—like those slippery fish I can’t quite catch. Maybe I could use a pole to write with, but my words will look no better.
I write this letter with prayers it will arrive in time for your 45th birthday.
I invite you to come over to Cojimar to fish with me again. I feel lucky
when you’re around. I even believe I’m going to catch a big marlin.
And if nothing else, we’ll share war stories and have some cervezas and sleep
all day if we want. Please bring that pretty wife of yours too. And bring a girl
for me if you can. Neruda wouldn’t want us to just read about love.
Your trusted friend,
Christopher Stolle’s poetry has appeared most recently or is forthcoming in the Tipton Poetry Journal, Flying Island, Branches, Indiana Voice Journal, Black Elephant, The Poetry Circus, Smeuse, The Gambler, 1932 Quarterly, Brickplight, Medusa’s Laugh Press, and Sheepshead Review. He works as an acquisitions and development editor for Penguin Random House, and he lives in Richmond, Indiana.