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Photos: Roadside Huli Chicken, at Mamalahoa Highway 11, south of the turn-off for Kealakekua Bay and Captain Cook Monument, Big Island, Hawaii

Dear Letter H,

At ten and frustrated by learning cursive, I despised your ornate curlicues nearly as much as I loathed lavish F’s and fussy Z’s. Serif or sans, lower case or capital, you’re tall. You’re all grown up: an elegant giraffe, a soaring ladder; you have two steadfast feet on the ground.

How stable you are, H, and how well-designed: a cushioned chair, a fence, a railroad track. Without you, would I have a house, a home, a childhood full of horses? (Huli Chicken?) Hope?

H, how I love the noise of you, the whoosh you add to conversation. What would dash or hush or harrumph be without you? How else would I be labeled? What would my lover whisper if not your shape in my ear?

*Write an ode to a letter of the alphabet. Of course, my first attempt had to be a letter to the letter that starts my first and last name.


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