• Caleb Parkin

‘Imagine all those people who’ll never get their letters…’

I’d forgotten I’d written another poem based around a Coventry experience – going to pick up a letter.

Images of letters and the postal service seem to crop up in my writing – a post man (post-man?) has been eaten in a story I’m writing (called Human Waste, which I’ll post up soon) and the last story I read at Folk Tales – ‘Whale Fall’ – had a post box and its contents being stolen by Giant Isopods. ‘Think of all those people who’ll never get their letters,’ says an old Bristolian lady looking on.

Maybe that’s the image: how many of us never receive the messages others send, or vice-versa.

Earlier on, I was looking into getting a Royal Mail bike, but I’m not sure you can. Shame. I thought I could be rather Mercurial on it – winging around imbued with potential messages which I may or may not manage to send. There’s something pleasing about it. And I just like the redness of the uniform and the bikes.

Anyway – here’s what I wrote:

I needed the key in the letter from the form but the plexi-glass laughed with only second-class mirth for returning (as it stated) only two hours post attempt at 0752. In the queue on the wall of this modernist monolith taken from a brother of the concrete Duplo briquettes from the background where this solo family photo’s set.

‘You shouldn’t trust the form,’ she said, the red of the P740 flashing through her crowned chest and to her eyes. I smile but with no return address. Next to the strata’d grey and brown of the window back in, a war memorial reads: ‘To all those who fell in the Two Great Wars from…’

But the words cannot be seen perhaps the letters never delivered in this light, or left clear for [Your Name Here]

As I pass beneath the oblong grey the frame splits: I watch myself approach the door from the other side, inside-out, my red-handed Sooner-or-later self.

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