WAITING FOR THE MAIL
I say my name to the mailbox. Then yours. Hers.
Even her name and still nothing is there,
no stern accounting of debts, no date when
the penalties will come again, no credit
offered in seriousness understood by machines.
Mouth of air. Mine and the box,
strung with vines, a hidden thing, vines
going up from the ground on nothing,
you’d think. Red flag I never raise
when there is something required of me
and the check is scrawled late
or the letter signed, pen in mouth
and heart in throat a few times every year.
To be fair, not so often. Brokenness
never lasting all that long. Even in your name
and her name, in the absence
by which we’re taught best, no totem
is found. In the road, so soft
in the heat it’s pliable, the cars berth
wider than I could ever need,
rolling past in the other ditch almost.
Some stop, offer help, help
they’ve not even decided is needed,
shown by their rattled way
back into the car. Away with words and miles.
Sometimes I wait a long while
beside the mail not there
and imagine even more of it,
its spill, its rustle like water rolling
from one’s hands. When
something comes with its dead
postage, embossed by cancellation,
I lean my face to its mouth
almost to kiss it, almost to thank its purpose,
and with my lips carry it
down and in. The same pens
which spill my name
slit each envelope open I’ve pulped soft
with my tongue.
Blue threads through
whatever words accordion forth.
Sometimes a letter. Places I’ve been
and remember. Places I’m unlikely ever to see.
Strange children. Minor injuries.
The freight of the body
in motion. Once all petals. Once only seeds.