Thursday, February 7, 2013

Poem 35 - Opening the Mail

We all have dreams, don’t we? We all go to our 9-to-5 and occasionally daydream we were somewhere else, doing something we loved a little bit more than what we’re doing right now. So here’s to all you daydreaming-at-work folks out there.

Opening the Mail
Minnie Bruce Pratt

          for Kriste Grubbs at UIU

She used to work down in the copy center, and,
don’t get her wrong, she liked it, she did. The big
xerox engines purred, paper rolled out like money
and shot into slots like a casino payoff. But this job,
there’s something new every day, the letters come in,
hundreds, thousands, from all over the place, and she
gets to open every one. The message in a bottle, the note
slid into the cashier’s cage, the letter left on the bed
when she walked out the door, the handkerchief dropped
behind him during the game at recess. She slices each
open with her knife, logs it and routes it to the other girls.

But her dream is to get a camper and follow the NASCAR
races. Six days travel and on Sunday stand inside the final
circuit of sound, inside that belly. It’s not the same as on TV
where it seems like they are just going round and round. Not
the same at all, she says. Every moment counts, and the air
smells like burning oil. Any minute it could burst into flames.

from The American Poetry Review
November/December 2004

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