Monday, October 08, 2007

Luci Shaw, "Act Now to Avoid Prize Entry Forfeiture (Pending)"

All it takes is a letter opener and an act
of surrender. Among the bulk mail offers
I was drawn ineluctably to the significance of
the words on the manila flap (“Dated material!
Open immediately!”) and my name under
the glassine rectangle on the front. No matter that
I couldn’t remember sending an entry,
nor what the prize was to have been,
my personal lexicon has never included the word
forfeiture. Others might view such a consequence
as a sign of profound personal sacrifice
or a valued lesson in relinquishment
and soul growth. Giving in to such temptation
is what I have always done. And I did.

The treasure flowed in. My address became
the destination for media millions. Catalogs.
Magazines. Samples. Plain brown envelopes,
white, cream, colored, it made little difference.
Friday mornings the neighbors took offense at
the overloaded garbage bins out front. Paper trash
began to clog the gutters. Overworked postal workers
went on strike. Trees were being clear-cut on all
the region’s hillsides. Protests and TV vans blocked
our dead end street. Environmentalists camped
like green mold on our doorstep. It all came
to a head when the Republican Party announced
my candidacy for President; they said only
the White House could handle that much mail.

by Luci Shaw