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Recently I wrote a bunch of letters. I got one in return, and it got me thinking about penmanship. I gather from my students that it isn’t being taught anymore. This makes me sad, so I wrote a poem about it.

In Cursive.

Maybe things were better when the world broke in twice a day,

jimmying the lock once over breakfast with the orange juice

with its velvet folds and rustles,

and at least then you had the funnies.

And a brief B ‘n’ E after dinner for one half of one hour,

world weather sports,

And newscaster was a job for really smart wizards.

We didn’t learn of each others moments in the moment,

but after weeks or months or years, waiting by the mailbox.

I’ll keep your photo on my fridge for years.

Send me a missive I can’t dismiss and I will carry it in my jacket or pocket

like an ounce of solid soul.

Because the world breaks in again and again,

Give me your trembling third grade cursive to hold,

send me a monkey tail after every school shooting,

Loop de loops to follow for every nuclear earthquake,

give me rockin round Os and Bs and PS when oil spills,

Send me your climb and slide letters

when your mother dies.

Because I don’t want to read about it on my phone.

Take your pen to the page and practice

Show me the Denealian.

Because anything that shows the hand of the artist

In this aching world, this world aching for penmanship,

Is automatically more holy.

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