The Lost Dickinson Letter


December 10, 1885

Dearest Traveler From Another Planet,

Welcome. My name is Emily Dickinson. I have anticipated and hoped for your arrival for the last half of my life. Each night before I go to bed I look anxiously upward through my bedroom window and imagine your bright light growing larger and larger as you make your approach, a ball of light slowly becoming a discernible vessel as it nears. When, I don’t know, but I have faith you will arrive. Perhaps you are on your way as I write this, yet being so far away it will yet take many years for your journey here to be complete.

As I find myself declining in health I fear that I will not be able to greet you in person. For this I am sad. I am writing you this note and will leave it here permanently at the far corner of my desk with the hope that should I not be able to present it personally, someone such as my sister will see that it gets to you. I see no reason why this shouldn’t happen since I’ve included the appropriate salutation above. How long you intend to stay I do not know, but I have jotted down a few things here so that your stay may be easier, or at least less confusing, but most hopefully productive.

As you probably have discovered already, everyone on Earth is crazy. I’m pretty sure people say I’m crazy, but I would beg to differ. At least not as crazy. We have many problems, one of which is everyone getting along. Most people you will talk to, assuming you talk, will tell you that the biggest problem currently facing this particular country of America is the unabated incoming flow of Irish Catholics given that they pose a threat to our American culture and values. Personally I think the biggest problem is drunk drivers. Racing through the streets as they do, I feel strongly that a completely sotted person behind the reins of a huge and not terribly intelligent animal like a horse is considerably more of a menace to society than somebody who hangs a shillelagh over their Christmas crèche. But that’s just me.

Be careful when you sit down in anybody’s home: our men have taken up the habit of oiling their hair and if you don’t want the back of your head full of goo, make sure to always lean forward, not putting your head against the chair headrest. Some people put antimacassars on the headrests with the intent of countering this problem but the purpose of this escapes me as you’re now putting your head against an antimacassar that’s full of goo. I think we should dispense with buying chairs altogether and just have benches and stools if men are going to continue this bizarre and off-putting habit; this is primarily the reason I’ve never married. Women on the other hand don’t have this chair problem as their current fashion of bustles, crinoline, and whalebone corsets prevents them from sitting down at all. Or breathing. But they think it makes them look good. The main reason I mention this is to let you know women are not actually shaped the way they appear. At least not from the sternum down.

There is great disagreement regarding God, such as what he looks like, who he favors, how he thinks we should behave, and what he thinks we should eat. Also whether or not he takes an interest in sporting events. Whenever you’re talking to someone, and they’re telling you about God, just smile and nod, whatever they might say.

We have lots of wars, usually about God and whether or not he has an interest in sporting events. When not having a war about God we have wars about things the dead of one group did to the dead of another group, usually in response to the dead of the second group having done something to the first group in response to something the second group did. We are a tribal species whose focus is not on the health of the whole but on the well-being of the part. Thus we have many wars. Depending on when you arrive we may be having one now. Or we might be in a lull. But there’s always one somewhere even if we Americans are not taking part. Given your ability to travel from your planet to ours, I’m assuming you are immensely intelligent and powerful. Therefore I’m personally granting you permission to take over our planet and tell everybody to cut the crap. Forgive my language.

Should you need more information on anything, feel free to avail yourself of our fine Amherst Public Library. All the information about our world is there at your fingertips, assuming you have those, but it’s really more of a figurative statement anyway. You can get a library card for free. Please remember to always bring it with you so that the library people don’t have to look your number up, because that’s very annoying, and time consuming, and makes other people in line wait longer to check out their books than they should have to.

I think that pretty much covers the main points. I am very sorry to have missed you. I was really hoping for a reason to leave the room. Your arrival would have been it.


Emily Dickinson

P.S. I have written a poem in honor of your arrival. That’s what I do, write poems. Don’t tell anyone. Like many of my poems, if you wish you may sing it to the melody of “The Yellow Rose Of Texas.”

Poem Number 1,834
(Dedicated to the one who has come so far to see us.)

My bologna has a first name
It’s O-S-C-A-R
My bologna has a second name
It’s M-A-Y-E-R

Oh I love to eat it everyday
And if you ask me why I’ll say
Cause Oscar Mayer has a way
With B-O-L-O-G-N-A.

Good luck,

Your friend Emily.

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