A Letter to William

All we know is that she was from Smyrna

And like mother, was a teacher.


Who gave birth to two boys

and was wed to a writer like me.


I was told

that before her photo was stolen,

she looked like you.

Which is to say, you are a walking remnant of the family I may never know.


When Americans adopt babies, they never imagine the consequences of separating

siblings for the sake of some image

and how in building a family,

they break the one that’s left behind.


When eyes move about a city that has crossed strangers tied to their own blood

the sounds of celebrations remind me of my phantom philia

and the life I could live

if I knew more about the woman from Smyrna.

-A. Struthers

The Woman from San Saba

The stories you told and

continue to tell

are imbedded in my veins like that great, wide river

riding the sound of fire

past the pasture

and into the bucking pen.


Now and again,

I come back to

this Saba soil,

where the sound of your call

brands my brain

and guides my gallops with your Irish coil.

-Amy Struthers