Dear Leslie

August 19

I am going to write you. You, of course, are already gone. I know that you are dead—claimed far too soon from the bite(s) of ticks and even greater bites sustained from an “undeclared war.” If there is an afterlife, I don’t know that my words will reach you; I will leave any express lanes to you for your family of friends. Because wildfires are sparking, leaping, and wilding across Oregon, I will not burn this so that ashes may dance upwards in heat before nestling into the soil you are now part of. Instead, I will transfer words letter by letter with a tiny trowel to a screen, releasing word fireflies into the web.

You will never know me, nor I you. But I will write you. A queer to a queer, a stone to a stone, one human to another human, I write you.

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