Grand Rapids, December 7, 2027

Dear John,

Your last letter brought tears to my eyes. I will never be able to watch crows in my backyard without thinking about their beaks buried in the eyeballs of soldiers. Though I know they are enemies, I cannot refrain to think that he might have a girlfriend waiting in Berlin. How can you enjoy it? 

I met Miss Smith the other day, and she whispered she had a cousin in Stuttgart. Such shame! But still we are friends.

It feels strange that I never see any boys around here. Women run everything and life has grown silent and calm with only your letters interrupting my solitude with gunpowder reek.

I am tired, I need quiet after reading what I have just written. 

I now believe we have come to an end. You have your killings, I want my life.

Never forever, 


British prisoners of war search the bodies of dead soldiers for valuables while a German guard makes an inventory, 1917

Today it’s prosery time at dVerse hosted by Lillian, and it was a long time since I tried to capture a story in a letter. The sentence included this time comes from Louise Gluck’s book “Faithful and virtuous night”

Reading what I have just written, I now believe

Hope this works!

On December 10 when we would normally would have had the Nobel ceremonies here in Stockholm, I will host the December OLN-Live. Hope you can join and listen to some live poetry.

December, 7. 2020

24 responses to “Grand Rapids, December 7, 2027

  1. Creative formatting for your haunting story. So many who have lived through war never recover, no matter whether they survived or not. Losing a girlfriend at this time puts the soldier’s humanity even more at risk. War is an ugly business no matter which way you look at it. I lost an uncle in WWII, my dad was never the same after serving, and my uncle became a monster after multiple tours in ‘Nam. Do you think there will ever be a time where there is no war?

  2. This is heartwrenchingly beautiful, Bjorn! You have captured the inner turmoil felt during the darkest hour so well! Living, surviving, coping, bearing loss during a war is never easy …

  3. The past and future merge in this–war ever present.
    There’s a novel I read about WWII Berlin being a City of Women because nearly all the men were at war.

  4. I haven’t read many epistolary stories lately, not flash fiction ones, and this is a wonderful example, especially as it is a ‘Dear John’ letter written in the future. It is also quite horrific, with the crows’ beaks ‘buried in the eyeballs of soldiers’. It seems to me that Eileen is possibly living in a utopia. I think I’d want to end a relationship with someone who interrupted calm and solitude with gunpowder reek. Is one or the other of them a time traveller, perhaps?

  5. “I will never be able to watch crows in my backyard without thinking about their beaks buried in the eyeballs of soldiers.” Damn, brother that image will haunt me forever. Puts me in mind of the fact that a cat will eat a corpse it’s shut in with, but a dog will lie there grief-stricken until it dies of starvation.

  6. She sounds like a ‘princess’. Poor John, but he is fortunate to find that out in time.
    Masterful job of describing the horror of war with the crow line.

  7. The realities of war. The brutal realization of a single human life and what is severed, and all that is left behind. Tears and hope comingle. A haunting write on D-Day. What is the real cost of freedom?

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