To Sandy Florian

Dear proud functionaries, dear room without eyes, (I know you can’t read in the dark).

Will you be my democracy?

Every letter used to start like this: I have cut off your hands.

I’m afraid your attentions will be diverted to someone else, 

but the hearing of one’s name seems to please even dumb animals.

And now a woman, fingering her necklace, looks over the notary’s shoulder. Read the inscriptions you’ve left in my arms. What to do without hands? This is how much has been lost to prayer.

Her fair scribe will read your letter aloud.

“Dear proud functionaries, I wish you had health.”

Soon it’ll be a conversation between absent friends.

We’ll use stage directions: “Plato bids Dido fare well.”

Because no one likes to be called by their proper name in the dark.