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Tag Archives: obsession

found poem: divine

found poem: true

found poem: his talk

found poem: he pokes

found poem: riddles

found poem: mirrors

found poem: some

Post Office

post office boxesThe man in the post office is dressed in a well-worn black suit and dark shoes. He is thin, not obviously young or old, his brown, slightly-thinning hair arranged in an elaborate comb-over. He stands at his post office box with a newspaper tucked under one arm and turns the small silver knob clockwise, readying to dial the combination.

But he does not. In the time it takes me to enter the post office, walk to my mailbox, turn the combination lock, open the box and pull out my mail, close it, check a second box and remove its contents and walk toward the door, he is still turning the knob, round and round and round, compelled to perform this obsessive ritual until the necessary signal manifests itself and some internal gate opens to release him.
. . . . .


a daughter…


Denton clawed at the ground with his fingers and a salad fork. He was breathing through his mouth, panting, but still trying to be quiet, not to disturb Syl, who had awakened at the slightest whisper of sound ever since the baby was born.

It was dark in the yard. The neighbor’s damn dog was silent for a change, trucks on the Interstate a distant wash of static. The soil was cold, damp and sharp under his fingernails. What was this damn fork? He had grabbed it off the kitchen table, afraid to open the drawer and hunt down something better, afraid to switch on the garage light and look for a real tool because the radio would blast on and then Syl would be awake, peering out the second floor window with her giant flashlight, and he’d be caught.

The knees of his pajamas were smeared with dirt and grass. He was cold. He pried a clot of soil from the compacted plot and scrabbled with his fingers to lift out more. He could feel tiny bits of earth flying onto his face and hair. In spite of the cold, beads of sweat gathered on his upper lip and at his hairline. Another chunk broke loose.

He thought of the earthworms and shuddered. There had been so many when he had dug the hole, his shovel slicing easily into the rich garden soil. It felt like that had been weeks ago, but that was only Tuesday and now it was Saturday morning, 3 maybe. He had filled the hole, piling the dirt back into it and stomping on it, jumping on it with conviction and finality, grinding his heel into it to make it flat and finally covering the spot with a few leaves and a dusting of fresh turned earth so it would disappear.

But it would never disappear. He knew exactly where it was and with bloodhound accuracy he had returned, failed in his conviction, weak, desperate, sneaking around like a criminal. Oh god, if his poor mother could see him now.

He scraped with the fork, lifted out another dirt clod. At last his fingers touched the edge of the plastic bag. Relief. He dug faster, unconcerned about the mess he’d made of the flower bed, no longer thinking about Syl’s sleep. He ripped at the plastic bag with the fork, tearing a hole in it, and reached inside. His fingers were abraded by the digging, numb with cold and unable to grip. He pushed them deeper into the hole, into the bag, and finally wrested free a crumpled, but, thank god, dry, pack of cigarettes.


Onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineten. Lark’s eyes shifted to watch the gardener haul the green hose across the lawn.
Onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineten. Huge coils slung over his shoulder and a dozen feet of hose trailing on the grass behind him, he leaned into the work as if towing a reluctant mule. Onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineten. The lawn was clipped and weedless, sloping gradually away from her, away from the walkway and the benches, down toward the river, where it seemed to disappear. Onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineten. A seagull chortled from the roof ridge behind her and then wheeled into sight, banking downstream, laughing. Onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineten. The sun warmed the back of her freckled hands where they rested, one on each thigh, her feet and knees tucked tightly together. She canted forward slightly from the waist and seemed to be on the verge of rising, her hands pressing down to lever her free of the bench, free of the gravity that held her motionless. Onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineten…

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