Mailboxes in Late Winter

By Jeffrey Harrison b. 1957 Jeffrey Harrison
It’s a motley lot. A few still stand
at attention like sentries at the ends
of their driveways, but more lean
askance as if they’d just received a blow
to the head, and in fact they’ve received
many, all winter, from jets of wet snow
shooting off the curved, tapered blade
of the plow. Some look wobbly, cocked
at oddball angles or slumping forlornly
on precariously listing posts. One box
bows steeply forward, as if in disgrace, its door
lolling sideways, unhinged. Others are dented,
battered, streaked with rust, bandaged in duct tape,
crisscrossed with clothesline or bungee cords.
A few lie abashed in remnants of the very snow
that knocked them from their perches.
Another is wedged in the crook of a tree
like a birdhouse, its post shattered nearby.
I almost feel sorry for them, worn out
by the long winter, off-kilter, not knowing
what hit them, trying to hold themselves
together, as they wait for news from spring.

Poem copyright ©2012 by Jeffrey Harrison, whose most recent book of poems is Incomplete Knowledge, Four Way Books, 2006. Poem reprinted from Southwest Review, Vol. 97, no. 1, 2012, by permission of Jeffrey Harrison and the publisher.

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Poet Jeffrey Harrison b. 1957

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

 Jeffrey  Harrison


Born in Cincinnati, poet Jeffery Harrison was educated at Columbia University, where he studied with poets Kenneth Koch and David Shapiro. Influenced as well by Elizabeth Bishop, John Keats, and Seamus Heaney, Harrison’s personal narratives take on themes of intimacy and loss with nuance, clarity, and dark humor.
In an interview for Smartish Pace, Harrison discussed the responsibilities of a poet, noting that “perhaps honesty . . .

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Poems by Jeffrey Harrison

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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