Dear Prudence, I would write if I had a friend named Prudence,
thank you for the lovely gift, and thanks for your kind condolences.
This single acknowledgment shakes pepper over a plate of everything. Eggs and salad. Fruit
and creamsicles. All summer long, mosquitoes attack if I try to sleep;
especially my knuckles, which I scratch by scraping my wedding band over them. I appreciate
the cruet or the vase or whatever. I am somewhat distracted, being itchy.

I’ve learned I can watch seven hours of television despite feeling itchy
after a mere 10 minutes of grisly crime programming. Prudence,
I must ask you, can you possibly appreciate
the miracle that is David Caruso’s career? No condolences
to or from that Horatio, though every week someone violently enters the big sleep.
I’d like to see him lose the sunglasses and present a big basket of fruit

to one of the deceased’s families. Any kind of fruit. Star fruit,
kiwis. Some nice key limes from Horatio. Horatio? It makes me itchy.
“It harrows me with fear and wonder.” What can I say? I sleep
so poorly. Speak to it, thou art a scholar. Right, Prudence? Oh Prudence,
you are such a fuckwad sometimes. So mealy-mouthed. My condolences
on those pants you’re wearing. You look like a hog. You can’t possibly appreciate

how bracing the occasional truth-telling is. It makes you appreciate
the sheer massy-ness of opportunity. It spreads open before you like the fruited
plain. It’s a lonely plain. But with wheat, apples, a death’s head in the corner, my condolences
have gone to nap behind the thresher. My devils are hopping about, itchy
in the crotches, elucidating stratagems for recovery. Prudence.
Certain things are unrecoverable. Some things are located beyond sleep.

I believe in you, Prudence, and in the restorative power of sleep,
in good-faith unions, the turning of the seasons, the natural course of things, and I appreciate
that you may have put this letter down after “fuckwad” but Prudence,
everyone is absent from this banquet, with what is still being furnished, the meat, the fruit
of the vine, the work of human hands. I don’t know how to talk anymore. I get so itchy
facing the table and all the cleanup. My condolences

if you feel you’ve lost the thread of me. Not that you want me or my condolences
as I and they are composed after five nights with no sleep, no sleep
whatsoever. I have to ask you for something and this makes me itchy.
Not to watch TV with me, not for a hug or a kick in the pants. I do appreciate
how you toed the line on the formal acknowledgments. I juiced the fruit
from the Harry & David basket. The cruet shines. I would like, Prudence,

to jack a car with you for every condolence received or not received. Prudence,
this would be so good for you, like yoga, like sleep, like the recommended daily servings of fruit,
it will pop these tight, itchy wads open, which you, my sweet friend, should appreciate.