It’s such a relief, when coming back to town after a couple days away, to find the house still atop the cellar hole, with no trees come through the roof or any evidence of fire damage, that it takes a while to notice that some miscreant drove onto the yard, flattened the mailbox, and then drove away. Who does such a thing and why, I wonder…
Dead Mailbox Daydream
First thing I noticed was tire tracks in the grass,
then the flattened and shattered mailbox, door
flopped open like the lolling tongue of roadkill.
To be clear, this object was far past its prime.
It fell apart before and was fixed up (by me)
with 100 feet of clothesline and granny knots.
Later one of our contractors, once done laughing,
put it back right with screws, nuts, and bolts.
Though its best days were long gone, nothing
excuses summary execution, going hit and run.
As I pull a hardware store replacement from
the back of my car, I picture the awful moment:
A drunk at the wheel of one of those trucks
puffed up on steroids, with thumping bass,
a pair of truck nuts a-dangle from the hitch,
a diesel with vertical stacks and extra lights.
While chair-dancing to a lame country tune,
he spills a 5-hour energy drink, swerves off-road.
Digging in the new mailbox I picture his future:
seas rise, diesel costs a $100 a gallon, he swaps
the grandiose relic for a rusty bicycle . Or perhaps
for a guitar so he can play lame country tumes.
Or maybe he fills the cab two feet deep in dirt
to make a cold frame and eke out early produce.
But I could be totally wrong, showing my biases,
I think, as I pound the post into loosened soil.
It could have been some old fart taking the back way
bask from the reservation smokeshop where he ate
two gummies while parked in his primo ’67 Valiant.
They were coming on hard as he hit the s-curves.
He could have hallucinated spectral leaping deer
and chose to kill my mailbox as the lesser evil.
He could have stopped to clear his head, waiting
for waves of visual rushes to abate, but suddenly
the sky filled with UFOs from horizon to horizon
and he fled. I forgive him. It could happen to anyone.
Note: unpublished draft