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Amy Newman

2011

20 November

 

Dear Editor:

 

Please consider the enclosed poems for publication. They are from my

manuscript, X = Pawn Capture, a lyrical study of the history of chess as my

grandfather misrepresented it to me because he loved to tell his stories or, if you

like the sound of this better, because I was too young to comprehend his

indifference to me. In any case I preferred more my grandmother's

understanding of a story, how her calendar was full of images of needles and

flames and rushes of wheat, all standing for the way a young girl was left to fend

for herself when the Romans decided to make a saint of her. We would sit in

front of the stove while something proceeded though its permutations in order to

be consumed by evening, and she'd speak of Saint Panacea's stepmother,

Margherita di Locarno Sesia, who stabbed the little girl with a spindle because

she was so pure, and I would imagine Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair, and

castles of stone hewn out of quarries and bright-stepping horses with braided

manes.

While the ashy length of my grandfather's cigar would measure the

evening's disappointments by increments, the part of my brain built for learning

and memory was focused on the strength of the hair follicle required for a

healthy man to climb a high tower braced only by the golden length of her hair. If I

could have transferred these thoughts to that part of the brain that processes

motivation and emotion, or reading or language, I could write how Rapunzel felt

as she supported the king's son's weight up the tower, only partially reeling

from the stress on the outer root sheath and the dermal papilla. And all the

unhappiness that follows in that story is because her mother, one enchanted

evening, was hungry for wild ferns.

Thank you for your consideration, and for reading. I have enclosed an

SASE, and look forward to hearing from you.

 

Sincerely,

Amy Newman

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