Two Belated Thank You Notes by Jonathan Bracker

Emily Dickinson’s forty-second poem 
Begins “A day! Help! Help! Another day!”
Never considered one of her best, 
So far as I know it has not been anthologized.

I love that yelp of hers!

Thank you, Lavinia, 
For having disregarded your sister’s explicit
Instructions to upon her death destroy her neatly-tied
One thousand seven hundred seventy-five

Attempts to write a “letter to the World.” 

Thank you too, Belknap Press of Harvard University,
For having published them in 1955: three stalwart gray volumes
Slipcased in bright red cardboard. Twenty-five dollars. After deliberation
I bought my set with money earned in R.O.T.C. that year.

A college sophomore, I had never spent so much on any book.

It was partly my way of giving the military
The finger. (R.O.T.C. and I had never been good friends.) 
In volume one I encountered the Help! Help! poem
And read its second line: “Your prayers, oh Passer by!”

I have always found that poem her most companionable.

One thought on “Two Belated Thank You Notes by Jonathan Bracker

  1. Jonathan I’m just so entranced by what you wrote. I love that poem or cantation or whatever you deemed. You are so smart and loving. Thank you.

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