Astrid van Baalen (Astrid Alben)
The Post Box

I am on my way to post a letter.

I spot a pigeon on the pavement.
The pigeon is limping on one leg.
It doesn’t know it is missing the other one.
It just keeps swinging the phantom leg
in front of the real one. Keels over.
Pokes its still functioning leg
into the paving-stone.
It looks about ashamed. Shifts its leg
like shifting blame. I feel guilty.

I lose interest in the bird.
My hand is on the letter.
It looks like rain.

The city is never done. A square.
A folding cot collapsed on chicken scraps.
A journalist navigating her Blahniks
cracks open a thermos flask.
The bloke who runs the coffee shop
stands in the doorway tucking in his shirt.
He’s watching her.
Builders are putting up scaffolding.
Or taking it down.

It’s all in the letter.

Underneath the post box
the pigeon gives up. It begins to rain.
The sun breaks through.