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A Scarecrow Letter

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D ear Beloved,

Your photograph is on my nightstand. In the rare moments when I take my eyes off your face, which has grown yellow and moldy, I read Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust.  There is this passage that always makes me think of you. Even though I can’t quite remember the exact words, the suffering it expressed has always stayed with me.

Just like the narrator of the passage, I’ve been waiting for the postman to bring a letter from you. I often wonder about your silence: is it that having composed a letter, you are merely waiting to sign it? Or having signed it, the letter is sitting on your desk, wishing to be sent? Or maybe the letter has been sent but has just not yet arrived. Which is it? Tell me so I can stop this longing from corroding me from the inside.

Tired of waiting, I decided to dream up a letter. I composed a letter written to myself by myself pretending to be you. Yes, it’s perverse on so many levels. But to tell you the truth, I impersonated you to perfection. The letter looked pretty legit down to the very sentences, words, and signature. It’s not the real thing but a pretty damn good copy of the letter that is yet to come.

It was all supposed to be innocent fun. I simply said to myself, “perhaps this is what you would write to me if you were to write to me.” A little “perhaps” never killed anyone. But as Nietzsche said once, “perhapses” are dangerous things. And so instead of giving me that warm fuzzy feeling, the forged letter is proving to be quite scary. I tremble whenever I read it ’cause I realize it’s a mirror with your reflection. I swear it’s you, though, in your demonic form, the form in which you reside in the whirlpool of my desire, my lust, and my friendship, and, therefore, the form in which I see myself in you.

Write me! Save me! From this monstrosity of a look-a-like letter.  This possessed caricature. This scarecrow letter. This “disquieting [copy].” This forged “artifact in rags and tatters.”

Yours,

Anon.

 

Photo Credit: Roz McQuillan

 

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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

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