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Dear Mr. Stokes,


By Sarah SniderPublished about a year ago 2 min read
From the inside cover of "Myths of Greece and Rome" taken by Sarah Snider, Bardins then.

Dear Mr. Stokes,

It’s True!

I remember your first name, too,


I liked you a lot, in the way

A lonely student finds a kindred spirit

In a sea of perceived oppression.

Our paths intersected in 1995, and the only reason

I can pinpoint this is because

You did not deny us the verdict-

You wheeled in an old box television

So we could watch, as a class, in the

Case of the People Vs. OJ Simpson,

Not Guilty.

I have goosebumps as I write this,

In part from the very real


Of time travel

But also a question that weaves itself through

The weft of my life as it is today:

What meaning this?

What meaning to you?

We were too self-absorbed to wonder

How you felt, what you were thinking,

I cannot remember if you looked relieved,

Or not as they read.

You are a black man, and I ask myself

Did I ever have another black teacher?

Just you, and Mrs. Johnson in 4th grade.

She was the one who accidentally wrote

“Ass” on the chalkboard one day, she was

The one who tried to ignore the sky had gone

Completely black on my birthday.

The end of May in Minnesota is dangerous, but I digress.

I choose to keep you

Present tense

If only for the moment this letter’s purpose

Becomes clear, but

I want to say this first:

I am not one that lives very much in the past

I am a woman of horizons, and I think you could have

Seen this in me, a bit of a serious trickster;

It’s a book, Mr. Stokes, I took your beautiful book.

Even though I liked you, even though I felt this kinship,

I took your book titled Myths of Greece and Rome

by H.A. Guerber, Lecturer on Mythology

Copyright 1893, owned first by a Ms. Helen M Park in 1894

Written in pencil, in fine loops

And then you, in 1995 at 102 in your expressive brown hands,

And then in mine, pale and young.

Now, as Myths enjoys its 130th year of existence,

I can finally answer the question of why?

I can answer the riddle of the quick, low, soft sound,

Like the sound of a clock heard through…

I took it because I wanted to take you.

I remember you more than most, and that is

A rarity for my mind.

I thank the book for that, for your broad name in

Blue ink written across the inside cover


You enjoy a vividness in my memories and I’m glad

It's you, Otis.

May I call you Otis now that I am forty-two?

Dear Otis,

I’m sorry, and thank you.

-Sarah, still a poetess.

performance poetry

About the Creator

Sarah Snider

I am a great lover of poetry, magic, mystery and science. I am passionate about sharing what I know about herbs and herbal medicine.


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