Nov 26

Panning for gold

August 3, 1848
San Fransisco, California
Dear Hetty,
They're panning for gold and I'm pining for you
We don't read tea leaves anymore, but the gold that slithers out of fish I boil
In the bottom of his coffeepot I see flecks of your eyes
And if I squeeze hard enough, his hands fit like yours
It is all silt and soot and sorrow here until the moon comes up and then it's just silence and salt
My tears like to trace designs out on my cheeks like children with frosty windows
I remember you by the wild berries that grow near desolate riverbanks
You are not sweet and store-bought but tangled and deep and tangy and wild
They wear beige shoes and beige hats and beige pants and I have a beige man with a beige smile and a beige personality
I use the sand that sticks in my ears and shoes to paint over my reds and blues and greens to beige
Whistling wakes me up in the morning and puts me to sleep at night
Hetty I am stuck in a cuckoo clock and every strike towards twelve knocks down one of my pins
However rich this gold may make me, without you I am spare and sparse and spindly
I have changed my mind
His hands will never be yours because they don't smell of rosemary and sage
Hetty I have planted row after row around my tent so your dreams might like to recline here 
I hang them above our oven and burn them in our campfires so my kitchen smells like your sitting room
He likes to kiss me on the cheek and a rash is blooming from the styling wax in his beard
I miss the way your eyelashes brushed against mine
Butterfly kisses
Hetty, all the gold in California couldn't make me stop missing you
He tells me someday we'll have gilded dreams but you and I had burlap dreams and we did just fine
He tells me someday we'll have a large leather sofa to make our hard silences softer, but we sat on tree stumps and our words were alive
He tells me someday he'll buy me corsets but you always liked how my shoulders slumped forward when I laughed
Hetty I haven't laughed since our hands were together and I cannot laugh while our palms are apart
He might spend his whole life here
Panning for gold
And I'll spend it next to him
Pining for you