THE STAMPS HE SENT ME
For Rick Hilles
And in memory of someone who touched us both
Some arrived cut off, but most were still stuck
to sky-blue envelopes with strange return
addresses—Warsaw, Tel Aviv, Rostock
in East Germany, gifts from an unknown
surgeon, father’s colleague, and connected
to mother by exile compounded with loss.
After Dad mentioned that I collected,
he sent small packets when their paths would cross.
And from those scraps of the scraps of his life,
I sealed each stamp in place. Majestic views
masked fruitless queries, answers like the knife
he used to open and expose the news.
So many lives cut off, and others stuck
with searching—Warsaw, Tel Aviv, Rostock.
Will Wells is the author of Unsettled Accounts, which won the 2009 Hollis Summers Poetry Prize from Ohio University/Swallow Press. His poems have appeared in Image, Birmingham Poetry Review, Tampa Review, 32 Poems, Connecticut Review, Cimarron Review, and River Styx, among other journals.