Editorial note about this letter: The “mini-poem” included in this letter is “The Fat Enter Heaven.” Here, from McNair’s writing notebook, is a draft of the poem as sent in this letter.
The Fat Enter Heaven
It is understood, with the clarity that is possible only in heaven,
that none have loved food better than these.
Angels gather to admire their small mouths and their arms, round
as the fenders of Hudson Hornets. In their past
they have been among the world’s most meek,
the farm boy who lived with his mother, the grade-school teacher
who led the flag salute with expression, day after day.
Now, their commonplace lives, the guilt about their weight,
the ridicule, fade like a dream. They come to the table steaming with food
more appetizing than they have ever seen, shedding their belts and girdles
for the last time. Here, where fat itself is heavenly,
they fill their plates and float upon the sky.
Read The Man (published version)
Read Country People (published version)
Read Memory of North Sutton (published version)