Dear Friend, 

This month I will send you
one cake shaped like a banjo,
two cures for a cursed egg,
three animated dogs,
a Furby, hacked
to the length of my upper leg.

And my voice, trapped
in a box for you to explore 
in your own time 
(perhaps over days),
laid out on your carpeted floor,
which you, in turn, will describe 
for me in intimate,
textured detail 
(but which I will never see).

Friend, when I wake at three 
with an ache in my lower back,
I will creep, bare legged
into my kitchen, pour a drink,
wipe down the dirty counter,
and press you to my ears:
unpack your words,
your day, a conversation
with your doctor, your dad,
some bastards on the internet.

Friend, there are things
I may never know about you:
your silhouette,
the line of your hand, the weight 
of your step, the smell of your room, 
your hair, your washing powder.

But I will know your practical laugh,
your favourite flavours of jelly ranked
from best to worst, the pain in your jaw, 
the sound of your room, the gossip 
from all your neighbours.

And when it’s time again for me
to draw myself a little closer, 
I will breathe against the screen 
(a pause) 
and wonder what to send
(a hush)
until I hit record: 

                   ‘Hello Friend’

Abi Palmer

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