A decade ago, in the autumn, we sat under the copper beech and talked about the Meaning of Life and whether beech mast is good to eat. I didn't know the meaning of the word online then. A decade ago, in the winter, you tried to teach me to rollerskate. The disco played too loudly to hear what you were saying, and I didn't know the meaning of the word grace then. And a decade ago, in the spring, I took your photo under a flowering cherry tree, the luminous black of your hair framed by the luminous white of the blossom. I didn't know the meaning of the word desire then. I said something crass, and your irritation shattered the tableau.
Now I'm responding to your photo as I would have done then, mannered like an adolescent obsessed with language but ignorant of reality. Even then I used to envy you the clarity of your writing, when mine was obscure, précieuse. Now you are creating beautiful things, and I'm half ashamed of wanting to answer that by creating something of my own. I find again I have nothing to give worthy of the impulse.