Dearest John:

A couple of years ago, I wrote a series of short stories which could still make it to novella or novel, should I ever be inspired to dive back into it. It’s a love story, with a bit of suspense and intrigue thrown in for good measure. I don’t know that you could term our years together as being full of suspense and intrigue, but they have certainly been full of ups and downs and blessings to many to count. Today, Sherry and I will celebrate eighteen years together, and I’m going to use the excuse that I’ve been too busy moving us into our dream house on the lake to write her a poem. But, I’ll post this old one and dedicate it to her. She is, after all, the reason I write.

Here’s to at least eighteen more, my Dearest wife. I love you!


The woman stood alone, the sparkling sand cool on her bare feet, watching the ship approach. 

While her heart yearned that it be real, she knew it could not be.                                   

It appeared ancient, though its white sails stood in sharp contrast to the dawn sky.

The sun was rising and it caused the sails to glow

as though they were lighted by florescent tubes;

pristine blue waters shimmered in its glow.

The lighthouse at the tip of the isle, she knew to be real, though she wondered if its purpose had changed. She thought it to be a guardhouse these days, and below it she assumed were barracks where the men were kept. She could hear them singing in the deep of night; always the same song; always low and reverent in tone. She prayed that was where they’d taken John. She prayed he was still alive. She prayed for Amazing Grace.

The fence which divided the island was tall and electrified; generators ran day and night to supply power to the island. The women on this side were allowed to roam free, and ventured often to the fence in hopes they might glimpse, even for a moment, one of the men they listened to each night. They saw no sign of life and agreed among themselves the men were never allowed outside.

A tear slipped down her cheek; the gown she wore rustled in the breeze, and the worn piece of paper she held in her hand fluttered, as well. She looked down at it, wondering would her husband’s eyes ever read the words she’d written upon it:

Dearest John:

I awoke as the last of them was leaving

He turned and saw me staring

I wonder had I not stirred and lifted my head

Would they have left me there

To find you gone when I opened my eyes

I was not harmed

Nor have I been mistreated in any way

We are kept in comfortable rooms

On this island

There are men on the other side

We hear them sing at night

I pray you are there

I pray you are safe

I know you are still alive

I can feel you

Were you gone, I would know

If this note finds its way to you

Please, know I love you

They asked me one day

If I would die for you

I said yes, and they laughed

I will if it comes to that

The guard is coming now

I must go

P.S. – I am not afraid

Copyright © 2011 C Mashburn

Sharing this on dVerse Poets Pub’s Poetics feature, where Mary has proposed we write a poem about the lost art of letter writing. As I mentioned above, I’ve been a bit busy with our house bidness, so I’m taking the easy way out and using an old one. It’s part of a series–The Last Grain of Sand–I wrote a couple of years back, and if you’re interested, you can go to and read the rest of the series by clicking on the title. Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings!


  1. What a wonderful snip of fiction and poetry weaved together… I’ve never read your fiction before, but it was truly wonderful, and even if this is a part of a larger story I had no problems of seeing it as a standalone part.

    I also like that you used a deares John, and not a dear John… which would have been totally different…

  2. happy anniversary you two…i hope you enjoy a wonderful day together….what a love you know…and what a circumstance as well….its in those moments you find out what love is really made of…very cool charles…

    • Thank you! We had a great day, Brian. Planted flowers together in the front flower beds at our new house. I’ll put some pictures up real soon. We are so blessed!

  3. Mary said

    Very good writing, Charles. And happy 18th anniversary to you & your wife. So nice to read that she is always your writing inspiration. Smiles.

    • Thank you, Mary! I might not have even started writing had it not been for Sherry. She inspired me to write love poems, and then encouraged me to write other things.

  4. Truedessa said

    What a wonderful story and heartfelt poem to “Dearest John” enjoyed this and happy anniversary…

  5. Raivenne said

    I love this, Charles. How you’ve blended thi snippet of the real in with the over all arc of the fiction is perfect. Happiest of Anniversaries to you both and here’s to many, many more!!

  6. shanyns said

    Happy Anniversary! This is wonderfully done, and lovingly crafted.

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