Sunday, February 20, 2011

Poem of the Week #164

A Brief History of Mail

Once upon a time, there were
smoke signals and bird calls
and charred bones left on mossy

cairns. These early equivalents of
“alert the media” did their best
to convey the ebb and flow

of human endeavor in those grand,
nomadic days before the invention
of tampons and sliced bread.

Gradually, we realized we needed
to move our words a bit faster
and so we got the ponies involved.

These express equines dragged
our words toward the industrial age,
though they still needed to be shod

and curry-combed and fed an apple
now and then. We got the philatelists
on the case and soon, stamp collecting

was born. For a long time, we cruised
along, with rates rising a penny a year
and the occasional someone going postal.

Insanity aside, our mail options
have now advanced to texting
and sexting and tiny tweets.

And so we have returned to the birds.
Sender and receiver beware: burnt bones
crossed on fire pits may not be far behind.

Lisa Vihos

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