Letter to Hamrick from the Century of the Invalidated


Letter to Hamrick from the Century of the Invalidated

Dear Charlotte: The sun here winces daily, stumbles
across morning before smudging gray like an old slate
scarred with decades of chalk dust and erased messages.
I’m hunting work, and there are days when it feels
as if past experiences have been rubbed out, or maybe
I can’t make myself slog through the powdery white
crusted blend of ennui and discounting youth. Those years
spent chiseling out budgets and manipulating spreadsheets
have wrought zilch. Even the service seeking writing
tutors shot down my application. Seems SAT scores
from the 70s can’t be validated, and how else might they
measure one’s qualifications. But somehow I still exhale air
cleaner and more carefree than any I’ve taken in since
the century rolled over. Funny how that is. The more shade
they throw my way, the stronger I feel. Seated at wobbly
tables by restrooms in near-empty restaurants. Chipped at,
ignored, reviled. Questions answered with curled lip and
haughty tone. Laughing, I relish it all. L* the kitten
just launched herself at the table, scattering across the fake
wood floor mail and bits of poetry which might be
hammered into a collage of shady loan offers, crappy
lines and massage therapy ads, if my talents leaned
in that direction. But scooping out the litter box seems
my crowning achievement lately. I wonder how a creature
so pure and new to the world produces something so
vile, without intent? I have other questions, too, but will
leave them for a subsequent whine-fest, which I’ll scribble
in smoke or invisible ink on another long-shadowed
day. Until then I’ll dream of southern winds and coffee
and beignets under bright skies in a life I should have
lived. If only. Your virtual and faithful friend, B*.

“Letter to Hamrick from the Century of the Invalidated” first appeared in January 2021 in the inaugural issue of Book of Matches Thank you, editors Kelli Allen and Nicholas Christian, for taking this piece.

4 thoughts on “Letter to Hamrick from the Century of the Invalidated

  1. Enjoyed this immensely for an odd reason – please give Lyra (now cat, not kitten) a stroke for me. Hip surgery means for 6 months I do not bend down to floor … Gary’s been doing the litter boxes, good man! … but yesterday the lightbulb flickered, I googled, and tomorrow the long-handled pet scooper will arrive. I can resume “my” chores! Oddly exhilarating.

    Liked by 1 person

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