Special Delivery

from the archives of the United States Postal Museum

Tell me, someone, is it time
for James to arrive by Parcel Post from a mile away,
a mere fifteen cents of a boy, eight months old,
sent by his parents to stay with his grandmother
who waits on the porch under a rippling flag,
an infant dressed like it was Sunday morning church
where sweat streaked his thick hair,
James, son of Jesse and Mathilda Beagle,
about to be dropped off in Batavia, Ohio, in 1913,
insured for fifty dollars, according to postal reports,
tucked into the mail bag like a puppy,
too frightened to cry, stunned by housewives
petting his face and cooing, not knowing where
he’s going or why, who the large man is
his parents trusted to carry him across ruts and stones—
Tell me, how is the boy holding up?
Baby James, as the newspapers called him,
seared into his prememory the rough canvas
scraping his legs, then hands lifting him
into flashing sun and something flapping at his face.