He takes what looks like an ordinary letter
the paper slightly worn and smudged,
but scrolled and looped with his extraordinary
handwriting, to the blue mailbox up the block.
Left hand snug in the pocket of his beige jacket,
right barely holding the graying pink leash,
at the end of which a heavy-set, low-slung
white mutt ambles companionably.
Requiring only a moment to relieve herself, to
sniff a leaf here, a carelessly-tossed food wrapper
there, the dog (like the man) has few expectations,
and is therefore seldom disappointed.
At the end of the block, he glances sheepishly
at the empty streets and sidewalks—chastising
himself for his inexplicable sense of shame—
counts to three under his breath, pulls the handle.
Like a jail-cell door, the mailbox clangs shut.
His letter slides down the chute, off the other mail
with a swoosh. Then, shrugging imperceptibly, as if
to say: Well, that’s done, then, he turns toward home.
(c) 2018, by Hannah Six