By Melissa Dobson

He called her M; wrote it just that way
She heard Em
Diminutive, short for heroine
Emily, or Ermengarde
From the German
ermen (whole) and
gard (en garde! enclosed)
A stand-in
For the everyday
Of says and does
And what the fuck is this

Intelligence was rare
The letters spare
My dearest M
But mostly only
M (dash) M—
The contents immaterial
The ragged path she trudged
Or ran, the highs
And lows, the breath contained

M was a.m.
In the eaves
Where famous windows
Filtered light
She saw
The tops of buildings
And of trees
Gray machinations of the whirring air
The underside of birds
And leaning (far far) out
M saw the sea

Miraculous those legs
He’d said
Dragged down to sad defeat

By that time
M was code
A renegade in lofts
A spy
Contorting into Z
And W and
Useful for a time
Against the enemy

Until, inevitably
Up, down, or split in two
Proved no real match for