Chapter Two

Subj: Thinking of you
Date: 99-01-17 21:56:42 EST

*BIG* surprise-I was thinking of you. It’s a terrible affectation. (VBG) It happens more and more often. I’ll be watching a movie or TV; see something out my window, hear some music, or, as in this case, read something, and think of you, and want to talk to you, crave talking to you. It’s a genuine hunger-for communication, for connection, unlike anything I’ve ever known.
Anyway, the *real* reason I’m writing, not that I need a reason, is to share what I read with you, what reminded me of you:

The Soul
Who knows how they get here,
beyond the obvious.
Who packaged the code

that provided the slate for her eyes,
and what about the workmanship
that went into the fingers

allowing such intricate movement
just months from the other side?-
Who placed with such exactness

the minute nails on each
of the ten unpainted toes?
And what remains

beyond eye and ear, the thing
most deeply rooted in her body
the thing that endlessly blossoms

but doesn’t age, in time
shows greater vitality? The thing
unlike the body that so quickly

reaches its highest movement only
to begin, with little hesitation,
the long roll back, slowing all the way

until movement is administered
by devices other than those devised
by divine design? The ageless thing

we call soul, like air, both resident
and owner of the body’s estate.
But her soul, only partially

unpackaged, sings
through the slate that guards it,
contacts those of us waiting here

with a splay of its soft,
scrutinizing fingers.
Her soul is a sapling thing,

something green, dew-damp
but resolute, entering this world
with an angel’s thumb pressed

to her unformed body at the very last,
a template affixed to her body
when they decided it was time

to let her go, for her to come to us
and their good work was done.
An angel’s thumbprint, a signature, her soul.

-from Ploughshares
by, Daniel Halpern

Farewell, fair Princess.
Angel, I’ll be thinking of you.


Jax sent the mail and turned off the computer and desk lamp. Striding across the room, toward the bedroom, he stopped to take-in the view of the city. It never phased him how, from one day to the next, his surroundings could change so drastically. A week ago, he was in Moscow, two days ago, at the family compound in Alaska, and now, he was calling a new town his home: Port Charles, NY.

(the poem is an excerpt from Her Body, by Daniel Halpern, found in The Best American Poetry 1997)