The Letter by Mike James

The Letter

Your six-month-old letter
stays on my breakfast table
between salt
and pepper shakers.

Some mornings,
I trace the envelope’s outline
imagine a braille
my readings might have missed
between toast,
soft-boiled eggs,
and black, chicory coffee
not quite bottomless
in my white cup.


Mike James makes his home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He has published in hundreds of magazines, large and small, and has performed his poetry at universities and other venues throughout the country. He has been nominated for multiple Pushcarts, as well as for the Paterson Poetry Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His many poetry collections include: Leftover Distances (Luchador), Parades (Alien Buddha), Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog), Portable Light: Poems 1991-2021 (Redhawk.) In February 2023 he was named poet laureate for Murfreesboro, Tennessee. His newest collection, Back Alley Saints at the Tikka Bar, was just published by Redhawk.

Leave a Reply