Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira


I saw there was someone outside. A woman, in her bathrobe, watering her flowers with a bright green water can. It was two a.m.

(none of this is complete. none of this is cohesive. these are days of stops and starts.)

Lately I have been waking early. This bothers the youngest boy. He believes part of my job is providing him a footrest while he sleeps, and if I happen to flee the bed before him he gets cranky. This morning, even pancakes could not subdue the wild beast that resulted.

Otherwise, I like early mornings. I mean, the dog needs a walk and the cats are pretty determined to be fed at 6 whether I’ve had my coffee or not, but still, it’s quiet. There are no human voices. Until, suddenly, there are, but that’s my own fault for waking everyone up so they can go to school and I can go to work.

Since all the horses died or moved, we’ve had deer in the paddock. I like the deer. They require nothing of me. They graze, the wag their white tails, they dart away at the first hint of unfamiliar. But they are getting used to me emerging from the house to walk the dog in the morning. Two, this morning, stayed and watched me and Pope make our slow, painful way down the drive. They weren’t not scared, exactly, but they were less willing to retreat from this patch of easy breakfast.

When they do flee—and they always flee—it’s a remarkable movement. They are statues and then they are water. They are dead and then they are alive. They are solid and then they are wind. And somehow they don’t fluster the underbrush as they go.


This morning I left the house in a tizzy to deliver four young, perfectly nice boys to their respective places of schooling (we give rides to those in need). I was in a tizzy because dishes keep getting dirty and


No, really, I’m thrilled that L is starting up karate again and I’m probably going to make B do it too since he can take the same class but oh, dear god, the logistics. The very, very calm people at the dojo hand you a flimsy calendar printout and you think, oh, no problem, this won’t be that bad, it’s only two days a week and then a Saturday morning. No worries. And then you pull up your google calendar, without which the world would fall apart, and realize that by making room for those two days a week you’re going to lose about an hour of work time, so, okay, if you switch the kids’ after-school program to two days rather than one and send the oldest home on the bus all by himself four out five days of the week, then you should be able to cover it.


I am in my bed. L is over there on the couch doing math homework. He is…struggling. Not with the math part. With the doing-homework part.

His problems are not the problems I had as an almost-11-year-old. I struggled with the numbers thing. I could focus, mostly. I could dive tight into a book and

This morning on the way to work


A space scientist schooled me on the Hubble while I drove up a cragged


B is


I know I have to navigate to make this work.

2 thoughts on “Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

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