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from the January 2004 issue

The Postman

He comes to me every day with a cruel bounce in his step
with eyes darting like little green flames—
the town postman in a heavy, damp coat
jovially announcing he has nothing for me.
I see his blue uniform broaden into form
metal buttons flickering in the sunlight
as he approaches my desperate shape.
How those skillful hands—like the hands of a gynecologist!—
maneuver through his bag, revealing nothing. I imagine a great pile
of sealed white envelopes lying somewhere:
birth announcements full of typos,
telegrams announcing death in red type,
letters from soldiers sunning themselves by a riverbank.
I imagine a letter read aloud for me
the words round and gentle
as August rain.

One day his blue silhouette waved something white
and he no longer seemed an oppressive blue smear
but more like a silly squiggle in my notebook,
a charming diversion.

He left disappointed, knowing
the letter was worthless.
But those seconds of anticipation were beautiful
the leather strap of his bag
pressed diagonally against his back
like a No Parking sign.

Read more from the January 2004 issue
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