For Jim Moore
Uncle Al teased him. “Here Mack, you want to go somewhere?” He put a canceled postage stamp in his hand.
Mack looked at the small square. “Marianne Moore American Poet 1887–1972 25 USA.” He read. “What does she do?” Mack asked.
“Mails things.” Uncle Al gave his usual lack of information.
But Mack didn’t let Uncle Al go.
“Electric bills. ‘Sorry I can’t marry you today’ letters. ‘Buy more magazines and become a millionaire.’” Uncle Al was pleased with himself.
Now Mack acted uninterested.
“You know the mailboxes? The Post Office with the flag where you went with your ma when your daddy was overseas?”
Mack looked at him.
“Where you went for food stamps.”
Now Mack knew. But he didn’t remember Marianne Moore.
“She might have been there and you never saw her.” Uncle Al laughed at himself and Mack wondered what was up.
“Yes, but I couldn’t see what my mother did over the counter,” Mack said.
Mack held Marianne Moore in his hand. She had a pink face and a rose at her collar. A light shined up in her face. He looked at the dark blue background around her. Royal blue.
But what did Poet have to do with Marianne Moore? He got the post office part. But what did e and t stand for if she was a mail handler? Why didn’t it say Pomh? Marianne had her hand to her cheek.
Uncle Al put another canceled stamp in Mack’s hand. It wasn’t Marianne Moore at all, but a bird. In fact, it was an eagle.
“Why’s an eagle crowded on a stamp?”