Share8 https://www.terrain.org/mp3/2020/jul/Rader_ThisHereNow2.mp3 This. Here. Now. This morning at my desk sitting in the window light I am thinking only of you reader and the history of us in particular you and how you came to be with this poem in this country at this moment of your day in the blurred passing of your own life from one place to the next and here we are together perhaps for the first time in language and I would give more than you might expect to hear the story of the seas that were by your ancestors maneuvered and the plains ridden over and more than one murder somewhere in your past the chances that one person joined another to produce the life that would lead before loss to one that would carry your promise to another and to another and to one who should also have died but who found the needed woman and man sealed your blood beautiful in the body of the woman who is your mother her terrible decisions miraculous one after another after another all the times she lied to herself to her loves and to the thrum in her bones that made her that day stop or not stop and surely go to that time it is her I am thinking about the impossibility of her very existence the daily doubts of her own skin it is her I imagine in the car in the bed on the beach the arms of the others both loved and not and those hours long and heavy you in your unskin deep inside ferried like an unCharon dark upon dark through the muffle and mystery of every single second it is her I conjure when the you of you could have ceased but there is in you so little of that which she could only guess only hope like those days that were an idea of days but soon she was in you in this life and now I am thinking as you read this line of the her in you and both in this poem how every possible misstep or setback had led to this stanza one misery after another one solitary wave in an ocean of darkness the tide never not receding at least at times it seemed so but then even the glory should have shown you something else but this and yet again and still the light shines not on but in this and she is who I address with this letter because without her there would not be this now or even a then when the poem is over and you write saying she and you are in a poem that was not for anyone but her and the terribleness that has despite the entire pull of the universe in some other direction oriented us toward those antecedents that have made possible the impossibility of us being now here together Dean Rader has written, edited, or co-edited eleven books, including Bullets into Bells: Poets and Citizens Respond to Gun Violence, edited with Brian Clements and Alexandra Teague (Beacon Press) and Self-Portrait as Wikipedia Entry (Copper Canyon Press), a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award and the Northern California Book Award. He is a professor at the University of San Francisco and the recipient of a 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry. Read two poems by Dean Rader previously appearing in Terrain.org. Header photo by Sean Pavone, courtesy Shutterstock. Read Dean Rader’s other Letter to America, and many more, in Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy, published by Terrain.org and Trinity University Press.