Saturday, February 9, 2019

Mailboxes in Late Winter

It’s a motley lot. A few still stand
at attention like sentries at the ends
of their driveways, but more lean
askance as if they’d just received a blow
to the head, and in fact they’ve received
many, all winter, from jets of wet snow
shooting off the curved, tapered blade
of the plow. Some look wobbly, cocked
at oddball angles or slumping forlornly
on precariously listing posts. One box
bows steeply forward, as if in disgrace, its door 
lolling sideways, unhinged. Others are dented, 
battered, streaked with rust, bandaged in duct tape,
crisscrossed with clothesline or bungee cords.
A few lie abashed in remnants of the very snow 
that knocked them from their perches.
Another is wedged in the crook of a tree
like a birdhouse, its post shattered nearby.
I almost feel sorry for them, worn out
by the long winter, off-kilter, not knowing
what hit them, trying to hold themselves
together, as they wait for news from spring.

Poem copyright ©2012 by Jeffrey Harrison, whose most recent book of poems is Incomplete Knowledge, Four Way Books, 2006. Poem reprinted from Southwest Review, Vol. 97, no. 1, 2012.

Personal Postscript — Winter as metaphor .... Like everything in life, and like life itself, winter won’t last forever. But the damages remain. Well, spring is coming soon. That’s for certain. Or is it? Of course, few things in life are guaranteed. Now, go look at your mailbox. Or look in the mirror. Enjoy.


  1. i like this poem... it has a very subtle underlying sense of humor: the sort of thing i appreciate a lot... speaking of which we have seven inches of snow with more expected tomorrow and next week... i hope we don't lose power AGAIN... unlike our richer neighbors we don't have a genset: just make do with bottled water and woodstove... good thing i took a bath this morning...

    1. Brrrrr. That’s why I live on the Gulf coast ...... best wishes for better days soon ....

    2. Yes, I remember those days, when I lived in New Jersey. Sometimes I do miss the snow, though...