Bringing the Message

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Bringing the Message

Sometimes we met dad on his mail route
at Baggs and Glausier, near

the little town park us country boys
never got to play in. Mom

packed a Mason jar of iced tea
wrapped in newspaper,

probably fried chicken or a pork chop,
cornbread, and squash. His

postman lunch. I couldn’t wait to see
that Vitalis black

hair, the leather pouch stamped U. S.,
and his sunny brown

skin stretched over all those lean
walking muscles. Later,

after a lot of bad water had passed under
Lost Creek bridge, she

told us he had a woman in town, then
it was a man, then he

was crazy. Too many mixed messages
for a kid. One night—her

eyes red as the devil I would come
to fear—she loaded us

in the Chevy, like stair-stepped bags
of dead letters, and hauled

us through hours of dark, searching
street by street

for some driveway to deliver the cup
of brimstone burning

like John’s revelation in the Babylon
of her head.

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