The Post Office
I've never dealt with Russian commissars
Nor spent a single day in prison camps,
But I often meet the ghost of buried czars
When I try to buy a roll of eight-cent stamps.
Post office reek of government and death,
Of barren tables, somber pens on chains,
Of endless lines and agents short of breath,
Whose voices sound like just before it rains.
While fish markets have a style - and smell unique,
And even banks give plates and cups away,
Grocery clerks don't mumble when they speak,
But postal clerks are tutored in delay.
The postage stamps are hidden carefully in drawers,
And postage's never owed - by God, it's DUE!
Tiles of subway brown are on the floors,
The decor smacks of early twine and glue.
But pictures give a touch of rare relief,
--The vintage shots of hunted, wanted ones --
They give me new respect for federal thieves
And reveries of robberies and guns,
Which sometimes seem to ease my rising stress
And help me think of bold, exciting days
When mail was borne on pony-back express,
Or Jesse James the reason for delays.
But as I wait in line amid the gloom,
--And agents leave for lunch when I get near--
My eyes attend the drab and stuffy room
And wonder what could possibly bring cheer.
Do you think wallpaper would help?
Photos courtesy of arapahoecoin-stamp.com, esol.britishcouncil.org, en.wikipedia.com