n

n
Kelsey Ann Kerr

Writing the n with my left hand
was doing it the hard way,
the same way I’ve always done everything.

I wanted to know
the way you drew your uncial n,
the end, so perfect, so finite,

flicked from your nib, forked into
a pile of n’s
across the silvered lines.

A calligrapher’s walk is learning
uncial, and you always must
start with that letter, n, again,

and again, until you find perfection,
so, ink and nib, I mimicked yours until
my left wrist grew red, angry even,

trying to find the angle that I could never.
You gave me only one night’s lesson,
and, until now, I have never held a nib again.

The latch clicks open on the green
tackle box, I pull out the black ink, finger
the gold leaf that you left. Mother,

a ghost can’t grasp anyone’s hand
and guide it, smoothly,
n after n after n

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