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Letters to Melville by Jaime Zuckerman

Winner of the 2018 Ghost Proposal Chapbook Contest. Edition of 100. Printed + assembled by Perfectly Acceptable in Chicago, IL. Cover design by Floor Giebels. Sold out.


Last night, gales battered my windows and dreams. Weather forecasters had a warning in effect. Within the sound of wind, rain was incidental. I know you’ve witnessed your share of storms. When I lay in bed, I want you to be curled around me, listening to what the sky has to say. What you wrote about sleeping in someone’s arms has become very controversial, you know.

You once described the whale as a tower, but even you could not imagine the height of towers people would someday build. I come from the future to tell you: the towers were bigger than our imaginations, and then we watched them crumple into themselves over and over on TV screens. After years spent separating out the bone fragments, we still can’t agree on what this means.

You hunted something immense and substantial. Not many of us have had our hands bloodied by the insides of something bigger than ourselves. Not many of us know how to find it in this vast expanse.

About the Author

M Jaime Zuckerman is the author of two chapbooks, most recently Letters to Melville (Ghost Proposal, 2018) as well as essays in House Guest and Grist and poems in Fairy Tale Review, Hunger Mountain, Palette, Prairie Schooner, Southern Humanities Review, and other journals. She is the recipient of a 2020 St. Botolph Society Emerging Artist grant and her writing recently appeared in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. She serves as the associate editor for Sixth Finch and a senior reader for Ploughshares. She grew up in the woods but now lives and teaches in Boston, MA.