I Was Waiting for You Outside the Post Office

Jessica Greenbaum


I was waiting for you outside the post office
A gray morning, nothing special about it
Except everything, since we were traveling
People walked to work pressing their collars
Closer to their throats, a delivery truck
Almost backed into a parked motorcycle
But by the time I recorded it here and looked up
Both gone. One of this city’s oversized
Pigeons, stocky in a brown turtleneck and
Gray bottom, hustled like a man-in-motion
Among the chimney pots, and no matter the
Stillness of the pale yellow buildings (a hue
Mythically, or stubbornly, without analogue)
No matter the rows of stillness you could tell
The whole city was moving slightly as if
Under water, each limb in the tree crowns
Riding their own eddy, each person striding
Their own path, a window opening and a cat
Threading between parked cars, the sky
Pulling it all along into what might happen
Next, and you arriving, saying, Come with me.

JESSICA GREENBAUM is the author of Inventing Difficulty; The Two Yvonnes (Princeton University Press, 2012), named by Library Journal as a Best Book in Poetry; and Spilled and Gone (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019). She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Society of America.

image: Ming herbal (painting, detail), Pigeons, Wellcome Collection Images