The new dark of evening, and when the Post

Office closes for the night, it’s conceivable the workers

pat each other on the back, punch out, go home.

 

Or maybe they host rituals of ambergris and fire, dancing

nymphs, a sacrificed lamb? Could happen. Not likely, but how

do we know? The doors are bolted. The windows, shuttered.

 

The floor could unlock to reveal a corridor to the underworld.

The job of the psychopomp was to usher souls from here

to there. Usually, they were horses, ravens, nightjars,

 

angels or dogs. Famous psychopomps: Mercury, Turms

and Hermes. Messenger gods. Yes, your mail

is being sorted. But other enterprises are underway as well.

 

Carl Gustav Jung suggested the psychopomp as a bridge

between the conscious and unconscious worlds. My last

therapist found my unconscious world to be a disaster.

 

Not too different from the actual world with its bruised mouth

and nervous twitching. Tires that float in the river moss. Credit

cards to pay off lesser credit cards. Glow-in-the-dark livestock.

 

Let me tell you about this dream I have where everyone

I love floats out to sea on a ramshackle raft. No oars, no sails,

and I can never save them! Wait—

What was I saying again?

 

Oh yeah. A bridge. Two worlds. The Post Office is dark.

And beneath it all, a messenger god might usher the lost

through a shadow. When he returns, it will be dawn.

 

Doors will open. Customers will tumble forth.

Stamps and twine, love letters and invoices. Death notices.

Tax forms. Anxiety, anxiety. Personalized stationery.

 

 

 

Matthew Olzmann
‘s first book of poems, Mezzanines, was selected for the Kundiman Prize. His second book, Contradictions in the Design, is forthcoming from Alice James Books in November, 2016. Along with Gabriel Blackwell, he is co-editor of The Collagist.

 

 

 

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