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 the tire tracks in the grass
and then the flattened and shattered mailbox there,
door flopped open like the lolling tongue of roadkill.
To be clear, this was never an object in the prime of life.
It had fallen apart before and was rehabilitated (by me)
with 100 feet of clothesline and some granny knots.
And later, one of our contractors, once he had finished
laughing, put it back right with screws, nuts, and bolts.
Though its best days were long behind it, that still was
no excuse for summary execution, for going hit and run.
As I pull a hardware store replacement from the back
seat of my car, I begin to picture that final fatal moment:
A drunk behind the wheel of one of those trucks puffed
up on steroids, you know, with the thumping bass beats,
a pair of truck nuts a-dangle from the ball hitch, diesel,
of course, with vertical stacks and a rack of extra lights.
While chair-dancing to a lame country pop tune, he knocks
over a five-hour energy drink, swerving right into my yard.
Digging the hole for the new mailbox I picture his karma,
after seas rise and diesel costs a $100 a gallon, swapping
the grandiose relic for a rusty bicycle with a broken chain.
Or perhaps he fills the cab two feet deep in dirt to make
a cold frame, eking out his diet with early fresh produce,
or he swaps it for a guitar so he can play lame country pop.
On the other hand, I could be totally wrong, showing bias.
So I think again, as I pound the post into loosened soil.
It could have been some old fart taking the back road home
from the reservation smokeshop, who ate two gummies
in the parking lot while sitting in his restored ’67 Valiant.
It could have been coming on hard as he ran the s-curves.
He could have been hallucinating a half dozen spectral deer
in the road and chose to kill my mailbox as the lesser evil.
He could have stopped to clear his head unsuccessfully,
waiting for the waves of visual rushes to abate, but then
the sky began to fill with UFOs from horizon to horizon
and he fled in fear. I forgive him. It could happen to anyone.