Dear Family In America,

by Nick Zelle



[If you are reciting this out loud from memory,
use an overdone false accent, each syllable
a pothole on a dirt road. It comes to you easily,
that endearing lilt. An inherited bounce that
knocks you about, makes
anything sound quaint.]

Karin was eaten by a bear.

[If you are the Family in America, you know that
she had been recently married, on honeymoon
in Yellowstone Park. A scratch on the family tree,
hardly legible. Someone to meet on a grave rubbing
trip. It is accepted, even expected, that you laugh.]

Merry Christmas.

[If you are in the spirit and hungry for tradition,
now is an appropriate moment to let your teeth
sink into the lefse or the lutefisk on your plate:
you need not wait. She came to this country;
she was eaten. What’s more to be said?]

Best to you and yours,

[If you are hearing this letter for the first time,
know that it is not abridged. Nothing here cut short,
just cut off. It is the last exchange between Malmö
and Minneapolis. The confirmation that this generation
is no one to each other.]

Your Family in Sweden



Nick Zelle is a longtime circus artist based in Minneapolis. His critical writing on contemporary circus culture can be found on Cirkus Syd.

Back to Vol. VI: “Hunger”