Author's Note

Dear Darla was written after a fit of reading Lindsay Hunter's work, specifically her latest book, Don't Kiss Me: Stories (FSG Originals). I love Hunter's voice—her fearlessness and brevity. I also love Annie Proulx and Donald Ray Pollock—If my writing could combine elements of all three, I would die happy! The form of this particular piece, however, was most influenced by Brian Kiteley's book, The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises. Dear Darla came directly from the Life Story exercise. Highly recommended!

Brandi Homan is a doctoral student at the University of Denver and the author of the full-length poetry collections Hard Reds and Bobcat Country from Shearsman Books. Probably, she loves you.

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Dear Darla

If you get this I’m dead and know that you know you never reached out to me and that’s ok I never found you out on account of yer privacy and locked records and yea, you mite no by now I was in the pokey a time er two but listen to my side now ok. That there was what you call a youthful discretion and yea, Wade and I robbed that liquor store so at least you could be borned in quite at the Pinewood Motel out past Lodestar cleanest we found and bless yer daddy he was piss drunk but didn’t light out til day after even if he smoked the whole time pulling you out cut yer cord rapped you in my jacket took you away to the good people of Modern Episcopal forgot that crane claw rabbit he won you. Couldn’t see but a bit of yer head babygirl pinkest pink I ever seen just like the beef I usedta cut at Butch’s Deli never seen nothing so pink alive before. After my discretions yer Aunt Patty—she ain’t yer real Aunty but she been there longer than anybody. Patty and I had nowhere nothing so what if we worked for Big Pauly after that don’t make me don’t make me tell you things we did. But I kep that rabbit saved my rainy-days don’t make me tell you I saved them pennies for you someday not Wade Pat Butch Big Pauly but you babygirl god help me I had to use them sometime. Pat and me got a room somewhere and I got me a job babygirl, a real good job sittin front desk for Ms. Bunkel who smelled like listerine but she’s good people mind you tot me how to do the keybored enuff I got in accountin pool those were the days babygirl smokin crunching numbers carrying on. Marlene tought me eyeliner Fat Ella with her brown betty bars those was the times. But it was Thelma introduced me to Ralph the shitbag lite of my life couldn’t help myself. Nowadays we don’t go nowhere much cuz of his tennednitis he got moving dirt out back—no green thum sure likes to dig tho—but he gets the tennednitis and I got a bum knee so Sundays we content ourselves with the Methodists and Pastor Rick and Thelma too bud lights chocolate macaroons if they’re on special. I ain’t never going near that Modern Episcopal after you left, Darla.


All the stars in heavun babygirl, babygirl,


Yer (real) Mom


p.s. I still got that rabbit


by Brandi Homan