Epistles in Which Rachel Carson Uses Romantic Language That Will Worry Biographers Claiming Her Relationship with Dorothy Freeman Was Strictly Platonic: A Cento

My Darling,            to step off the train into your arms            "ifs"            "whys"            "love"1

If we could have            even a little time            Christmas2            linger3

No more till            when?4                                    Awful if it was only one            you say not to     I imagine5

Leaping            the mail truck                        breath             we have to                         summer    need6

You, the white hyacinth             I invest7             Control8             We would have9

Rattle            my heart         not long now10         Hours/hours11

My path            You12            Tell me            It is,            We are,            I am            your heart.13


1 December 11, 1953
2 December 21, 1953
3 December 26, 1953
4 January 21, 1954
5 January 25, 1954
6 January 30, 1954
7 February 6, 1954
8 February 6, 1954
9 February 17, 1954
10 March 9, 1954
11 June 27, 1954
12 November 8, 1954
13 December 25, 1954

Jennifer Loyd is a poet and PhD student in West Texas. A former Stadler Fellow and editor for Copper Nickel, West Branch, and Sycamore Review, she also holds an MFA from Purdue University. Her poems and prose, which explore the intersection between private voice and public narratives, appear in the Southern Review, The Rumpus, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, and elsewhere.