Evie Lovett-Rainbow Cattle Co. 7

Ode to Wilmington

Jeff Tigchelaar

Wilmington. Oh, Wilmington.
My days would be empty – my mailbox
and recycle bin, too – if not
for you…


Wilmington, Delaware; Wilmington, Delaware.
Does any real mail
ever come from there? Anything other
than credit card offers?

Wilmington: I’ve never been, but I picture
a city of banks and businesses.
No homes, just buildings.
No citizens, just workers.

I picture a grid system
and grey, prison-like structures. And lots
and lots of concrete. Parking lots
and straight, flat streets.
But no sidewalks.

I hope I’m off.
It would be a shame for a place
with such a nice name
not to have, say, neighborhoods
scattered with sandboxes, swing-sets
and intentional raspberry patches.


Reader, if you happen to live
and love and play and sing
and even bathe in Wilmington, Delaware,
would you mind
just writing me
a letter
with your hand
and a pen
or a pencil
on lined paper, torn
from a spiral-bound notebook?
Just stuff it yourself
into a stamped,
windowless envelope
and lick it and seal it and walk it
down to the old blue mailbox
on the corner of Central and Pine.
(The one at Maple and Main, I’m sure,
would also be fine.)

And do I even have to say this?
Make no mention of banks or credit. And don’t forget
the return address (street number,
please – no P.O. Box)
so I can write you back.


Art by Evie Lovett


Jeff Tigchelaar is a former newspaper reporter, editor, and stay-at-home dad whose writing has appeared in journals including New Ohio Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, North American ReviewPleiades, and The Laurel Review. His first book, CERTAIN STREETS AT AN UNCERTAIN HOUR (Woodley Press 2016) won the Kansas Authors Club Nelson Poetry Book Award.

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