David M. Alper

Preserved Words

Harmony of the Creatures by Margret Hofheinz-Döring

When she died on 9/11, her computer was destroyed.
Work servers captured only snippets of emails,

but he went back to preserve her words,
transferred them to attachments and printed them.

Emails from when they were first dating:
corny, considerate, private communiqués

between them, setting plans for dinner
with friends or a date. He did the same

when her brother died unexpectedly too:
mini tomes of correspondence,

love letters, and he read them on occasion,
forever leaving him with a memory

he’d forgotten, a grin on his face feeling
closer, knowing she could climb any time

back into his long, unshared shadow.


About the Writer:
David M. Alper is a high school AP English teacher in New York City, residing in Manhattan. His work has appeared in Thirty West Publishing House, Glassworks Magazine, and elsewhere.

Image: Harmony of the Creatures by Margret Hofheinz-Döring (1910-1994). Oil on canvas. 75 x 100 cm. No completion date specified. By free license.