This is the seasons of greetings. Keeping in touch with friends from childhood -- or answering cards you got with New Year's wishes. Me? I send postcards...dozens and dozens all year long. I send a poem to my daughter on a postcard once each week as spiritual education. I search for postcards in every thrift store, tourist souvenir shop, and bookstore. My drawer is, indeed, hard to close and full of images ranging from Big Foot to Zuni snake offering bowls. Website: triciaknoll.com
A Sequence on Postcards
Ode to the Postcard
I know you don’t want to hear about it,
that fleeting word — e-mail. You who knows
that every story has two sides, the words
and how you see them in the world
even wish you were, I miss you,
and thank you for your kindness over tea.
You bear extra-special images of antique
roses, Wyoming’s wonky jackalope,
Inuit line art of the whale, and the photos
of motorized skates or Escher’s waterfall
from the Museum of Impractical Devices.
Oh, I love your flimsiness that invites
my right hand to scrawl with no fear
of the fingerprint of delete.
Go ahead – invite the postal person
in the small white truck to flip you
over as if you are a pancake
destined for a drool of maple syrup.
You carry codes between lovers,
like my oblique phrase about dachshunds.
I scribble to intrigue the federal agent
who usually approaches hard-knock mail slots
and arched sheet-metal boxes, wary
of the mad dog, to sling ads
for grocer’s sales or water bills.
When all is said and you drop
through the slot to the vestibule floor,
go ahead – reinvent yourself,
a bookmark in the bodice-ripper
parked beside the unmade bed.
The Poet of Postcards
She used to have file folders named
for holidays like Halloween and New Years
until the desk drawer wouldn’t shut
and California redwood trees
bellied up to Hello from Chicago.
She dreams of picture perfect
messages and Transylvanian wisdom
or sometimes that she flies
airmail with silver linings
and sympathies of hope.
What I’m Famous For
I’m famous for pie dough,
light rolled at the edge.
Peach, apple, and the mincemeat
my brother dutifully eats
because I say it is his favorite.
I’m famous for certainties
about who does not know what for, when
or which channel the stream will choose
after the next flood. I can point a direction
so squarely one way that others nod
rather than go rounds to disagree with me.
I can outlast anyone on a hula hoop.
I’m famous for sending postcards.
I write on the back of the images the world
offers, a panorama down the Columbia River Gorge
or the lithograph of a girl fleeing a courtroom crowd
to net a butterfly before it scoots out an open window.
Who else sends handwritten snippets of poems
to the man who tiptoes into my yard to steal a ripe tomato,
or the naturalist who wrote an obit for a wolf named Romeo?
I say I keep a clean house; what I mean is that my garden
has no weeds, nothing invasive choking out the good will of foamflower.
I do not count clots of dog hair that catch on the corner of the tansu,
or the sheets that have gone a week or two too long since washing.
I mean pure and simply that my clean house is a garden
I invite you into. Curl through my paths, relish moss on recycled bricks,
wonder why no bat has moved into the bat house. I offer rose verbena tea.
I am famous for being too serious,
which means gullible when you live with jokers
who make goofy puns or tell hoodwinking stories and pull a straight face
as if sincerity and honesty live on one weighted side of a duplicitous coin.
I have written my elegy. I encourage you to do the same.
There is no knowing what people will say
if you don’t say it first.
The words I’d like to have spoken
won’t be. My accomplishments —
the captive coyote bite on my cold neck
tracing lichen on a boulder at Lake Beautiful
my fishnet dress jumping waves on Long Island Sound
sunset poems embracing the Pacific’s weeping
dogs who came when called
riding the pregnant cow
A daughter will be sad and the best of my days.
My men not surprised to find me gone, she who runs away.
The congregation will sing a swaying song
while the wind-up hula-hoop doll dances
near a platter of gluten-free fudge.
There may be peach-and-cream roses.
The words may not be mine
just pretty ones like butterflies mounted in a glass box.
Who will line up my Zuni fetishes made of coal pressed to jet
to testify to secret lives in my apple-green corduroy pockets
of coyotes, wolves, the noble Appaloosa, red birds and lady bugs
or tell the story of the cougar who bounded off a granite boulder,
stretched in a dusted sunshine
into message winds that blew my world away?
©2016 Tricia Knoll
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell him or her. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is the beginning of community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -FF