Alma Mater sent me the door to my
mailbox of all four years
Even the semester I took off
to be an intern in DC
Box 1305 was still mine.
Not occupied by anyone else.
And when I received the souvenir door to my once-mailbox
in my now-mailbox
which is an oddish nesting of postal portals
when you think about it,
I opened the box containing the door to the box that I used to open
every day, ages 17 through 21.
I gamely held the dial,
pointing it to combination numbers and
it all came rushing back.
I was reduced to that tender age where I felt everything
acutely. Where I would stand there
in the midst of good-smelling fraternity boys
in front of the wall of little doors
like Alice in a neo-Wonderland
I stared at my fate through a clouded window marked
Would today be a day of discovery
J. Crew cargo shorts gone pastels this season?
Would today be a letter from my granny
signed, Keep the faith, Love, Gramma
or would today be a telegram from my old man
in the form of TIME Magazine
which he sustained a subscription for me for all four years
as if to remind me, weekly,
to take a look at the world’s problems for a moment,
from the heights of your ivory tower.
Or would today be the proverbial golden ticket in the Wonka bar–
a small slip indicating you had won the college lotto:
Today a package awaited you.
Box 1305: the gatekeeper of
So much more than mail.
Homesick for a home that was no longer mine
Missing my friends and an identity
now amorphous, irrelevant.
Point, wind right, wind left, wind right, click, open:
Mix tapes and messages in bottles.
I was 17, 18 and ready
to go for broke.
Love letters and love-of-life letters
The kind of love I’ll not find again
The kind of letters I’ll read thousands of times
when I do find them
When I find them in dusty shoeboxes, in my
mother’s basement and awaken to the fact of how
loved I was.
Was time different then?
Or was I just different then?
All that time, my husband was only a few mailboxes away
But he might as well
have been in a different zip code
Later his letters would find 1305
Potted clay and grass
His animated penmanship a beacon.
I stayed behind
Typing papers and writing letters
on the road to earning the letters B. A.
Today we share the same mailbox.
And our shared mailbox doors can live closer
Can live out of the order of numbered portals in
Sometime a million years ago
Or was it just 10 or so
that our doors and our days were sorted by mail.