Post Office
by Michael Catherwood

This parcel knife ring glares
from the bottom of my mother’s dresser,
hooked like a nose, grime
left from my father’s finger.

I try it on and recall my dad showing
me how it worked,
how he cut bundles of parcels
with a sharp sweep and pull of his hand.

Next to the ring sits his brass postal badge,
its eagle wings hover in the drawer’s dust.
I can see my dad leave for work,
pin the badge to his pocket tee shirt,

grab his Thermos and black lunch box
packed by my mom, then leave for the night shift,
always the night shift. Sometimes late
his heavy shoes wake the darkness

and I hear him in the kitchen while I lie in bed
and listen to the slow creak of the floor.
A pan or pot rattles. He eats dinner
alone while I stare out the bedroom window.

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