Ode to the Competent

The post officers: there are two of them here at the desk.
One mouthing-in letters that never were there in addresses
in foreign script — a quite-understandable gaffe,
until it just cripples her into a useless, blank stare.

There is nothing more to say of that officer here,
because just then the other one rises up, the barrel of
her torso turning about as she pushes her chair to its place.
“I’ll do it,” she says, or something like that, and takes charge.

Not pretty. I’m sure no one’s written a poem about her.

A zip code copied exactly — one digit degraded
just like in the flawed source. She flubs on the keyboard,
asks a few times for the spelling, flubs, fixes, and skips
the bits that don’t matter. My letters go out half-past five.

No one is carving a marble statue of her triumph:
her broad thighs resting on the grey of a polyester
office chair, ponytail tight, fingers fumbling and
keeping this bit of the world from falling apart.

No one writes odes to people who get the job done.

– Gord Sellar, 9 Nov. 2005

Published in Diet Soap #4, 2009.

December 31, 2009

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