Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 7
Fall 2013

Closing Salutations

by Susan Hartung

I used to sign all letters sincerely, 
even when that was untrue.
Dear New York State Electric and Gas..., sincerely,
or even sincerely yours.

All best means everything that comes to you should be the best,
that is, better than what anybody else finds?
Or closest to what you want or think you want? 

Would very good do?
If I want to be sincere I might wish instead that you, we,
may stay afloat with less than best, which is mostly what is.

If I send you best wishes, I am sending you the best 
I can think of. I am thinking of you, and wish you well.

Long ago, for too long, I signed off with cheers,
a word that sounds lazy to me now,
on the order of “whatever.” 
But I’m often cheered by someone’s
offering them to me. 

What is the xox I sometimes see?
Hugs and kisses? I couldn’t.
It must be generational, or regional. 
Does the word for your father’s sister
rhyme with “pant” or “font”?

your friend, missing you, cordially, fondly
I am undecided.

Love is good, there can’t be too much of the real thing.
What is the real thing?
Maybe we needn’t be greedy about it.
Dear Time Warner Cable.... love.

Always is to be used only rarely.



SHJ Issue 7
Spring 2013

Susan Hartung

is the author of the poetry chapbook, Inclusion, published by Elephant Tree House in 2011. Her poems have appeared in print in The Berkshire Review and an anthology, A Memory of New Hunger, and online in Serving House Journal and Cell2Soul. They have been printed as posters for traveling exhibitions organized by Healing Legacy in Brattleboro, Vermont. Susan writes and makes drawings in western Massachusetts.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury