With the book of poetry
quite an ordinary, academic kind of poetry I now realize
came a letter, scrawly and annotated.

And a 1942 liberty dime
wrapped up in a bindle made from lined yellow paper
as if it were cocaine.
The edges of the dime were smashed flat in several places
and In God We Trust was unreadable through tarnish.

I read the letter again today, many years after it was sent,
and ask myself, Could this craziness have been feigned?
The letter is half-articulate and has no more allusions than
one of the email messages I sent in 1982.

He asked me: "Wouldn't you like to know the answer to the riddle of the Sphinx?
I may have the soul of a dog but I do believe I've stolen the paw of a Baboon."

I was secretly flattered that I'd attracted such a literate stalker.


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