Dear X,

Remember that time with the search warrant? I was cocooned in your warm mania in the house you built us, happy as a sky. You asked me for a story and one room was grey fur after its protagonist. You asked me about colors, dreams, stone. A plinth in the living room was granite starlight. A bench in the study was dedicated to the sea. Never mind that there was no sea, there was rain—do you remember that rain? Your cats do. You called the cat cries your alarm system and I didn’t know if it was cruel or funny so I laughed. I offered to help you fix leaks. We got as far as overalls. You worried the sealants would rot your wood, but not the rain. You pulled me to you. I smelled powder and oil in your hair. Each muscle released because I was home, and home was a wordless Q and A. Friends were in and out, but few went on the chalkboard. I had the most spaces in my honor, so I gave you my heart on the basis of math. I drank rivers of coffee to stay awake chasing your wake of electric snaps. But finally I passed out in the speckled bed and woke to a cop. He squinted. It’s 2:00, he said. Why are you sleeping? I stayed up all night. Why didn’t you call your mother? She didn’t wish me a happy graduation. Why didn’t you call your boyfriend? I didn’t tell the cop I was in love with you. I said, I accidentally turned my phone off, can’t a girl turn her phone off? Instead of Officer, why are you here? Instead of Officer, look, some boys will sing you sweet praises but some will sing you their hands.

Jessica Lee Richardson’s first book, a short story collection called It Had Been Planned and There Were Guides, won the Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize and is due out from Fc2 this September. Her stories and poems won awards from the National Society of Arts and Letters and the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald museum and have been featured online at The Short Form, Ploughshares, and the Authonomy Sunday Shorts Series by Harper Collins. Please visit