However, here is a different kind of conditioning. This poem was first published by Live Oak Review in 2009.
WAITING FOR THE HUM
You think she forgot to buy stamps
and will get some tomorrow
because there’s nothing like
a hand-written note,
she once said,
and you agreed that no email could compare
to her spidery scrawl on linen paper that’s
so finely textured you wished
your wrinkles looked as good.
So you wait—
stacking redbud leaves
shaped like lily pads, while
the air sizzles with cicadas
shaking in the trees.
In the old rocker,
you roll the leaves into a green cigar
and pinch them in the middle—
A fragrance of summer,
new and sharp,
sticks to your fingers,
stains the parchment grooves
in your skin.
The mailbox has been empty since spring,
except for the spider and its web
strung inside the cave of hot plastic,
that explodes with the scent of dirt
and old baby dolls
when you open the door.
The mail truck hums down the road,
sweat reabsorbs into your skin,
the cicadas quiet and the chair stops—
you rise, but the postman passes your house
with the raggedy, American flag
slanting into the street
and a barrel of clematis
balanced on the mailbox.