Phone calls were always initiated by daddy—
his preacher voice clear across the wires.
Sometimes mother would go to the bedroom,
pick up, and listen on the extension.

But the letters that woman could write,
spinning a narrative of canned tomatoes,
a rat snake curled up the screen door,
a fox on the carport.

We always knew the real reason
she wrote was to elicit a response. 
A letter just took a twenty-cent stamp,
but I was drowning.

I knew she waited every day,
for news of first words, how the youngest
fell asleep in a pile of stuffed animals,
or the oldest learned to swim.

Now I close my eyes,
see her clearly.  She waits
in the front yard, patiently,
for the postman.