Love Letter by Donna Vitucci

Dear Sam,

Once they sprung you loose from the war, why go to a no-name Okla­homa town, among strangers? Why hole up in a board­ing house with a freck­led girl who has no idea the shine and pur­pose you held in 1932? Why, Sam, do you pre­fer flat plain to the glo­ry moun­tain? Why not come home to the sis­ter who wrote you when writ­ing seemed the least effec­tive means of relay­ing devo­tion? Come back to your peo­ple, who would lav­ish love and for­give­ness in equal mea­sure for all you sac­ri­ficed over there. We’d bind your wounds, every one. I would.

The preach­er would pour praise from the Sun­day pul­pit like Saul anoint­ing David, and those pray­ing in the pews would sing your hero­ics. You were our cho­sen one, Daddy’s cho­sen one, first born son, and he nev­er got over you leaving.

While you’ve been gone, Daddy’s told sto­ries we nev­er imag­ined we’d hear. Dar­ren, he only half under­stands. To him it’s anoth­er way of Dad­dy sooth­ing him to rock-a-bye-land. The hare­lipped mid­wife, once Mama expired, Dad­dy said, she snapped the pelvis easy as a chicken’s wish­bone to get that baby free. Woman said, “She nev­er should have had more than one.” The one being me, and believe me, I wear that mark of being “the one” like a birth­mark. Thus, the baby stuck in the canal, our lit­tle Dar­ren, got deprived of some oxy­gen. At least the way he is he’ll nev­er be going in the mine.

Oh, Sam, no rea­son now not to come home to this West Vir­ginia holler, where I know your heart is, where works a dad­dy who loves you like a wor­ship­per his God. He took and tried bury­ing that deep affec­tion, but every day Dad­dy comes up from there more rock and less man. All this time we’re sup­pos­ing you’re part of the mar­riage ‘tween him and a first wife. But the woman, he revealed in a fit of drink, took off to be a singer, “or most­ly a whore, while I gave my name to anoth­er man’s son.” His secret wiped the world black a minute, then the stars came out, twin­kling so bright they hurt my ears. My mind clanged like a pis­ton so I hard­ly heard him add: “Chose my first wife for vices, chose the sec­ond on her virtue.”

I know what I’m telling you here is all back­ground, all edge of sto­ry because to tun­nel to the truth, to write it on paper any clear­er would be like greet­ing the dark mouth of the mine and the deci­sion to take each new day down into it. Like the loco­mo­tive you stared at til you real­ized star­ing wasn’t going to stop it, til you real­ized in that con­test it was you or fly­ing steel and it was nev­er gonna be you.

Me and Dar­ren, we make the home now. Moth­ers gone. Yes, two moth­ers AND two fathers. Sam, I loved you, I love you still. Don’t you see we aren’t blood kin after all? And it would be all right. It would. Even the preach­er would say so.

You have my heart.


Born and raised in Cincin­nati, Don­na feels very near­ly south­ern, what with that Ohio Riv­er and Ken­tucky prac­ti­cal­ly part of her back yard. On her mother’s side of the fam­i­ly every uncle and male cousin has been a truck dri­ver. Before trucks they drove wag­ons, most­ly ice deliv­er­ies to the bars in Over-the-Rhine, an inner city neigh­bor­hood in the heart of down­town Cincinnati.

Donna’s sto­ries have appeared or are forth­com­ing in dozens of print and online pub­li­ca­tions, includ­ing Nat­ur­al Bridge, Hawaii Review, Merid­i­an, Gar­goyle, Broad Riv­er Review, Hur­ri­cane Review, Front Porch Jour­nal, Beloit Fic­tion Jour­nal, Sto­ry­glos­sia, Inso­lent Rud­der, Turn­row, Night Train, Juked, Smoke­long Quar­ter­ly, Anoth­er Chica­go Mag­a­zine, and Ginosko.

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4 Responses to Love Letter by Donna Vitucci

  1. Rosie says:

    I loved this one when I read it in work­shop. Love this!

  2. Bonnie ZoBell says:

    Beau­ti­ful sto­ry, dee! So gen­tly full of such trag­ic hap­pen­ings. Love the poetry.bee

  3. Antonios Maltezos says:

    Damn, girl! You got a voice!

  4. GC SMITH says:

    Super stuff Donna

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