M a r c h   2 0 0 2

Guest Writer

Not because of, but despite
The package
by Edward Morris Jr.

before unbinding the strapping tape
that held the small box together.
across its front, the words "priority mail."

that's for damn sure.

another late unemployment check, another
job not calling back, the agent
i waited three months for said
the same thing they all say, so
talented but the boss is not
willing to take
the risk, but

i undid the wrapping paper,
imagining mom choosing blue
cellophane in riverside,

the nut-roll coated in sugar
just like I remembered. I

inhaling the sawdust smell of
new things done to the house
since i last was by, the scotch
tape, the tissue, the wrapping
paper that wraps my cardboard
box of scrapbooks yet to be. the
smell in that box was better than
everything bach ever wrote and i
could hear it better

when i undid the cellophane, i gave
kat the first bite, but not before
i put my nose to the crust and i could hear

john denver and the muppets and five golden
rings like the night in hogansville when
though allowed to stay up, i fell
asleep hours before the ball dropped
in times square. i could hear

hearth and fire be yours tonight
and all the cold outside i sang that
one note for note when we curled up
in the back of the van on the way
to the last ska event in windward
washington, thinking of nine-hundred-mile
car rides like chickens with
heads under wings, and blue
christmas lights glowing back
the driveway in loganville,

or over the river and through
dutch settlement to the dim
red lights of grandma and
buddy's real tree and handfuls of
old-school tinsel they don't
make any more ...

i inhaled the crust and it was
run like a deer it was mediaeval
flutes like the madrigal playing
on warm mornings before the
double dips and the orange sleds
with our names graven on them in
black magic marker that looked
like the elvish of tolkien's
north pole.

i cut a branch of cedar
from the midmark of the
betsy slope on mt. hood
wondering if, under my
hand, it could possibly
grow into a tree.

but when i breathed that
oven time-capsule in, it
started to show that
the key is not "because of"

See more from Edward in our archives.

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