ia a woman who married her neighbor’s mailbox one night
when no one was awake or watching. Why it attracted her
she had no idea, certainly it wasn’t the sex, which was OK
but nothing to write home about, although both her parents
were dead and would not have understood anyway. It was just
one of those things that HAD to be done when it was done.
And if not then when? And if not by her then whom? Or so
she advocated. Her mailbox was jealous of course, felt rejected
and unworthy of deliverance. It stayed open on rainy days,
and was fused shut and otherwise unresponsive
to the postman’s warm and probing hands.
Although they had taken precautions she was late,
horrifying late; still, she warmed to the idea and decided
without anguished debate, to see things through. To have
and to hold. To choose names random and syllabic.
Perhaps symbolic. To further merge and emerge further,
to seek the larger stamp of approval offered by all her neighbors
and their boxes, especially the postman: large-mouth bass
whose metal mouths open to swallow the largest unwanted
catalogs, others shaped like a hammer or a sober Futurama’s
Bender a sadly empty keg of Guinness and a fishing lure designed
by Frederico Fellini, a distended anus a doberman’s mouth
the grim reaper on a chopped cycle the barrel of a Glock
a VV van a fire-hydrant an Evinrude outdoor motor landbound
for life in a lighthouse in Kansas windmills and whirligigs turtles
and tall-hatted Texans cameras and chastity belts the tin man
and the little engine that could and all things wild and stranger.
The deed done she did not look to unlick her stamps. No solace
was sought since none was needed. No regrets reframed the mirror’s
mirror. The ocean remained offshore and sent congratulations
in the form of paired Magnificent Frigatebirds who nested
for a year before the male followed his hormones elsewhere.
Our heroine, for such she is, accepted this gift, and others great
and small large and uxorish with absent partner present in cultural
memory alone. Nothing special. And certainly not the nest she had
ever had. Even so, eggs are eggs, and must be tended. And she intended
to do just that without squawk or squalling. Determined she decided
to continue doing what must be done. What cannot be undone.
Except by snake or rat or fox or feral dog or hungry human.
Or unintended neglect from the uncollectable unconscious.
Rats abandoning a sinking ship
had nowhere to go except to the ropes dangling over the ship’s stern.
No anchor chain to scrabble down and across. No buoys or inflatable
to cling to. We knew the captain to be a drinker, heavy at times,
but not heavier than the waves flowing over. But we never thought
he’d drunk us under, or his crew. To Hell with the passengers, they’re
just freight or ballast that pays for itself. But to jeopardize our long-standing
agreement, to drown us with his cheap screwtop MD20/20 in the dark wine sea,
is callous and a slap in history’s face. We are nothing if not historical.
A plague on the captain and his bow-legged minions. Let the soulless
bastard die as we float away, ever content to nibble.
Bartleby writes a letter to the opinion editor of The New York Times
No mission have I remaining in this world except to distinguish
between illogical minds and those whose preferences match mine.
I am neither political nor apolitical in these clamorous times.
Having said that I stand now in dead-wall reverie, fixed, as it were
on what remains of this day, this tedious world of walled streets
in which the word recondite swells the hearts of motionless souls.
The moonstruck are beyond compassion. They have no high green
folding screens to shield them from the thoughtless lights of others.
Their eyes are amber, not in color but in their “luny” fixedness.
Staring silently, they are a flute with holds stoppered. As stated
my mission remains unfulfilled; I do write with its fulfillment
in mind, and that said I have copied this for general dissemination
to your readers: I would prefer to be left alone here and voteless.”
I can and will say or write no more; I remain unchanged
and firm in that pursuit. Please advise your readers thusly.
The Silent Man,
Richard Weaver is an unofficial snowflake counter (seasonally) in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. His publications include Loch Raven Review, North American Review, Crazyhorse, 2River View, Pembroke, New England Review, Black Warrior Review, and the ubiquitous Elsewhere. He works as a volunteer for the Maryland Book Bank. Recent poems have appeared in the Southern Quarterly and Conjunctions. Future poems will be appearing in Steel Toe Review, The Little Patuxent Review, and Stonecoast this summer.
This is Weaver's first appearance in Offcourse.