walks around the neighborhood
with his ray gun ready.
I should probably call him
a mail carrier, given that there is nothing
inherently male about his job
and, if anything, hauling around bags
filled with other people’s bullshit
is a feminine activity.
Heck, sometimes my mailman
is a woman. And she does a better job
than any man. She never listens to Metallica
or texts her ailing mother on the job.
She stares, head forward, focused
on her mission, focused on the mail.
My mail! Which she will never
know anything about other than
its weight and how tired it makes her.
I think truly loving someone
is being just as happy for them
when they get mail
as when you get mail yourself.
And the mark of a good mailman
is that happiness, some of that Christian shit,
for everyone. A good mailman is grateful
for the opportunity to bring you joy —
say, an excellent credit card offer
or a Christmas card
from your former neighbor
who is senile now
but you’re glad is alive,
and it’s a little mean, but
his note is pretty funny. A good
mailman knows the good and the bad
arrive together, like, for example,
when you receive an obituary cutout
in a wedding card or a bill so discreet
you think it might be a love letter
from a particularly attractive ex-lover
and are tricked into opening it.
A good mailman laughs and cries with you.
Even in the winter
when she is wearing her ski pants
and runs the risk of the tears
freezing to her face.
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