SHORT PROSE CONTEST 2019 Finalist:
the dead letter office
BY suzie eckl
Dear Santa. Dear Easter Bunny. Dear Tooth Fairy Who Never Left Enough. Dear Tasmanian Tiger. Dear Dodo Bird. Dear Last Male White Rhino. Dear All Animals Euthanized at the Pound. Dear Baby Birds, Struck Dead from the Fall When We Hired Men to Trim the Trees. Dear Trees that Got Too Big Along the Fence Line. Dear Save-the-Rainforest Fund. Dear Backpack with the Frayed Strap. Dear Retainer I Threw Away On My Lunch Tray. Dear Friendship Bracelets. Dear Lemonade Stands. Dear Secret Passwords and Secret Handshakes and Secret Code Names. Dear Notes Passed in Class. Dear PA System Blaring “Hit the Road Jack” on the Last Day of School. Dear Bedtime. Dear Piggyback Rides on My Father’s Shoulders While We Checked the Fire Alarms. Dear Swingsets. Dear Blankie. Dear Sleeping in Tents Indoors. Dear Night Before Christmas on My Brothers’ Bedroom Floor. Dear Advent Calendars Read Aloud. Dear Midnight Mass. Dear Saints Burned at the Stake. Dear 4th Grade Boy a Grade Ahead, Who Rode a Snowmobile into a Tree. Dear Smell of My Grandma’s House Trapped in a Bolt of Fabric I Kept Wrapped in a Plastic Bag. Dear Cancer Clung like Wasp Nests to Her Lungs. Dear Moth I Jarred with Nail Polish Remover and Stabbed with Needles for Eighth-Grade Science. Dear Moth’s Pink-Striped Wings, Leached of Their Color in Death. Dear Beauty No One Ever Saw But Me. Dear Early Morning Practices. Dear Practices After School. Dear Private Lessons for Learning Clarinet. Dear Off Campus Lunches. Dear Calling Cards and Pay Phones. Dear Virginity. Dear Freshman Year. Dear Jonah, Who Was Found the Next Day. Dear Professor Who Got Hit By a Car in the Rain. Dear Doctor I Never Became. Dear Ipod I Spilled Beer on. Dear All Useless Electronics. Dear Watch. Dear Earrings I Left on a Stranger’s Nightstand. Dear Stolen Wallet. Dear Replacement Wallet, Also Stolen. Dear Grandpa Who Sent Me Letters that Smelled of Licorice and Liquor. Dear Titanic. Dear Hindenburg. Dear Atlantis. Dear Malaysia 370. Dear Twin Towers. Dear Feelings of Safety In Elementary Schools, Junior Highs, High Schools, and Universities, on Metro Cars and in Airplanes, in Night Clubs and Movie Theaters and Sidewalk Cafés. Dear The Good Ol’ Days. Dear Back Then. Dear True Love. Dear Soul Mate. Dear Ex-Boyfriend, Who Is Still Alive Even Though It Feels Like You Aren’t. Dear Bad Guys. Dear Good Guys. Dear Montréal Expos. Dear Buddy Holly. Dear Marilyn Monroe. Dear Elvis. Dear Buffalo Roaming the Plains in Herds So Vast. Dear Songbirds Filling the Mornings with Sound. Dear Possibility. Dear Plans A and B and C. Dear Saving the World. Dear Certainty. Dear Confidence. Dear Knowledge. Dear Innocence. Dear Unqualified Happiness. Dear God. Dear Benevolent Ghosts.
Suzie Eckl is a Poe-Faulkner Fellow and MFA Candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Virginia. She is currently at work on her first novel.