Collected Poems of John Holmes
Holmes, John A., Jr.
To the summer country postoffice, boxed
From one to eleven hundred and one-
Mine with a secret dial combination
The postmistress showed me on a pink card-
I come, to attempt what must be done,
Childe Harold to the dark tower, L-two,
Four turns, R-three, and the notches
Lined up. I guess through beveled glass
Miracles by mail, air-mail, all mine,
Checks and love, if dial to dial matches.
Silent as a safecracker, I twirl and try,
Intent as the other burglars, and ah! it
Opens. They too break in on their lives.
They clutch stuffing from mail-bags,
Rip and read, then and there, no matter what.
They stand around like the spaced columns
That hold up public buildings, stunned
By something not in, or in, the envelope.
They go away, and more move up, robbers
Twiddling dials for a break long planned.
I never read letters in the postoffice.
I carry them to the cottage. There, alone,
When the time comes, I estimate my loot,
Find most of it negotiable via wastebasket.
But one is currency. One is mine. One.