MN poetry: MC Hyland’s “Epistolary”

MC Hyland lives in Minneapolis, where she runs DoubleCross Press and the Pocket Lab Reading Series, and works as an administrator and occasional letterpress instructor at the Minnecota Center for Book Arts. Hyland’s latest book of poetry is Neveragainland, published by Lowbrow Press.

Before you read Hyland’s poem “Epistolary” you might find the following definition from wikipedia helpful: “An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. Recently, electronic “documents” such as recordings and radio, blogs, and e-mails have also come into use. The word epistolary comes from the Latin word epistola, meaning a letter.”


I am a handsome and lonely man.

I like to write these letters to the housewives:

Dear Betty, I am a handsome

and lonely man. I appreciate

your zinnias and Buick. RSVP.

I seal them in envelopes made from top-secret

blueprints. Then they get intercepted

by my ex-girlfriends in the postal service.

Dearest, I have sabotaged the factories of sleep.

I drive around and around the abandoned worksite,

taking photographs. Smug workers, sealed

in their plexiglass pods. I cry out to them: Vive

la television! Abajo las manzanitas!

Will you write to me? I confess to the housewives

everything, everything. I could curl your hair

around my wrist like a shackle. I could draw

our path on every map in the atlas. Look: we are crossing

the Atlas mountains. It is like The Sound of Music

without the element of escape. I am singing you a song

that I wrote for the people of my country

about their beautiful, beautiful smiles.

When we get to the other side, there will be

a house with steaming coffee and pancakes.

I will stitch this letter into my arm.

– “Epistolary,” by MC Hyland, as it appears in her collection of poems “Neveragainland” published by Lowbrow Press. Reprinted here with permission from the publisher.