The Letter

Donald Hall

   At college in my junior year,
I had a nervous breakdown,
  or so I told Dr
Coluccio in a long letter
  I typed at my desk
in Eliot House. Anxious, exhausted,
   fretful, I explained
that I needed to quit school, certainly
   to get away from Harvard.
I spoke in desperation: I
   couldn’t sleep or study
or write; my life was impossible,
   painful, insupportable
I didn’t tell him I’d broken
   with Freda, then gone with
Rosalind and split up with her, then
  Priscilla. I typed,
making many errors, and intended
  to hand-deliver my letter
right then, but when I finished,
   I felt overwhelmingly sleepy.
         I woke after two hours
  entirely calm and cheerful
and quickly crumpled the letter.