Will Wells: "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.