Dear whoever you are,
I’m writing this letter because . . .
I really just don’t know anymore,
maybe I just shouldn’t get up in the middle of the night
and sit back on my recliner in total darkness
not watching but listening
to things going on on my porch, to noises outside my house.
It all starts out very quiet, and it really is late,
but with time things start happening,
poppings and crackings and a scratching and muffled voices
from the dark bedrooms of neighbors.
I imagine I know what they look like inside, those bedrooms.
They are all red, I’m sure—
red velvet drapes
deep violent red carpets.
I don’t know,
the children must have awakened them.
Those children.
All day I’ll sit on my porch
and the children are misbehaving,
have found something sharp and are cutting things—
furniture in the house or the curtains or bed sheets or something,
cutting into tree trunks, into table legs, into door jambs . . .
always the act of cutting engineering itself
into a mind inside the mind.
Those children won’t be good.
I’ve been living alone for a while now,
I don’t know.
All day I’ll sit on my porch in my chair and my hands
must have something,
something to clutch or tap fingers on . . .
or else I can’t be out there.

Dear acquaintance,
I don’t know how you’ve been, but as for me,
well, things here are the same.
I can’t seem to get going—
so what else is new?
At night I sit in my chair most of the time,
it’s a recliner, I got it used and put it by the front window
where all the light comes in in the morning.
Recently I went to a flea market and got an old straight-edged razor for two bucks.
Just to hold one of those things,
I don’t know.
It seems sinister in a weird way.
What if I’m holding a murder weapon?
For that and for other reasons
I haven’t been able to put it down.
I feel compelled, mysteriously,
to keep my eye on it.
If a razor has a mind it has a purpose.
Such things need someone to watch over them.
Sharp things have a way of vanishing.

Dear concerned listener,
Please rest assured,
immediately after this letter is finished
it will all be over, and then we can simply go back home.
I feel like I’m not making sense. I feel . . .
is that difficult for you? It seems to me somehow sinister.
I don’t know.
Out on the porch, out there, and something is scratching
out there, out there on the porch with my razor.
I believe I left it there, purely by accident, all through the night.
It’s been sitting there on the arm of the chair on the porch waiting,
the night, I’m afraid, will not be good, it won’t be good,
has been known to use it to cut things, the night
has been misbehaving, won’t be good,
is a wicked child, cuts things . . .
put it away!
And really, when you look into it, deep into the blade,
there it is, the night, already cutting—
and children harm things with sharp blades
children know better than we do that sharp things cut
and do not just lie around.
Things that just lie around have a way of vanishing.

Dear friend,
Do not be alarmed,
I have borrowed your razor.
I say borrowed, but it seemed . . . I do not wish
to be presumptuous . . .
that it was left there for me,
that you wished me to have it.
If I am mistaken
just please tell me
and I will return it to you
with my sincerest apologies.

Love, me

The thing you said was missing has been found.
Go back to bed now,
we’ll discuss this in the morning.