Twenty-three to Twenty-one
Author Michael Ceraolo
The following short poems are from Twenty-Three to Twenty-One, so titled because a woman named Julia Sand wrote 23 letters to Chester Arthur, the 21st President. Her letters total over 150 pages, and the author has condensed and re-arranged them as well as adding a few imagined parts as connective tissue. If Arthur ever responded to her letters, no response is known to have survived, therefore the author has used his imagination to come up with responses.
46 E. 74th st. New York
Aug 15th 1882
Hon. Chester A. Arthur.
Well, have you not five minutes to spare for me
when I have spared so many hours for you
in this long, sad, exciting year?
When I was an invalid
it seem quite natural that I should not see you
but now it is different
And this, perhaps, is the last time
that we will be near enough for there
to be any chance of our meeting"
Do not subject yourself
to the slightest annoyance for my sake,
but, if it is possible, I do want to see you
But that is not all I wish to write
If you have influence
I only beg of you to use it with conscience":
name a man who is worthy to be Governor,
one of whom the state may be proud"
And one more thing:
Do not at the last moment
do anything weak in the Star Route cases
it is one of the most painful things in life
to turn away from a friend
But do not waver
your duty to the country stands above all else
Make it so "the people may await . . .
with perfect confidence
all your actions & decisions
[Julia I. Sand]"
I will do nothing to weaken
the government's case on the Star Routes;
the case will be prosecuted to the limit of the law
Hon. Chester A. Arthur
Are you offended with me--- really--- seriously?
Do the few harsh things I have said to you
outweigh all else---
the fact that for a whole year
I have thought of & felt with you
in your cares & perplexities---
that last summer, when you were bowed down in gloom
& seemed almost broken in spirit,
I did my best to rouse your manhood & your courage--
that I had faith in you
I still have that faith, but perhaps
this is the last chance of our meeting
I expect to leave New York
Aug. 19th/82 [Julia I. Sand]
(Please don't leave New York in the next few days)
Bio: Michael Ceraolo is a 62-year-old retired firefighter/paramedic and active poet who has had two full-length books (Euclid Creek, from Deep Cleveland Press; 500 Cleveland Haiku, from Writing Knights Press) published, and has two more (Euclid Creek Book Two,from unbound content press; Lawyers, Guns, and Money, from Writing Knights Press) in the publication pipeline."