Victoria Korth

Victoria Korth

Mailbox was selected as part of MSU Library Short Edition's call for submissions on the theme of "Home," in coordination with the MSU Broad Art Museum's exhibition "Where We Dwell." Victoria Korth is the recipient of the 2020 Montreal International Poetry Prize. Poems have appeared in Broad River Review, Ocean State Review, Tar River Poetry, LEON Literary Review. Cord Color was released in 2015. Tacking Stitch is forthcoming. She is an MFA graduate of the Warren Wilson College as well as a practicing psychiatrist caring for the chronically mentally ill.

His grandfather would have been adept, helped
decide exactly where to dig the hole, which kind
of post, wood or steel, concrete or gravel fill, or dirt,
metal box—regulation style—but not his father,
not that I recall. He'd hire someone
or work so fast I never saw it done, or frowned
so much I blocked it out, his talents close as cards,
buried well until well after he was gone.
Maybe I was too efficient, maybe not.
Most likely not. I'd rather read and watch
for signs of spring, make cocoa, cut the vegetables.
Where did he learn, my son, to put a mailbox in?
I focus on the negative, trash among the trees
at his new house, driveway thick with slush, broken
downspout, unraked leaves, evidence of invasive weeds,
fox den nearby and deer, as everywhere; I make a list
then try to sleep. Yet there it was today, sturdy, stern,
and useful. And here am I, trying to resist small sadness
on the other side of effort, up-creep of helpless certainty:
as long as men are men, I will be a mother,
and time that lets him build small structures
to keep birthday cards from getting rained on
will be the stuff of stories, boxy truck ebbing
down French Road, pulling partway on the grass.

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