Some people collect stamps –
famed portraits in miniature
or paper windows opening upon far-flung places
to which they never will carry
reports of illnesses,
unexpected deaths, or funerals one wished to attend,
short courtships and long engagements,
honeymoons spent in tousled sheets,
welcomed birth pangs followed by difficult deliveries,
first words, first steps, first schools, first loves,
homecoming kings and queens,
graduation cards and money,
promotions, terminations, dreams of early retirement,
and the many, small events that,
frame by relentless frame,
form the narrative of a life.
Such fates are not to be for these paper miscarriages
of delayed communication.
No wet mouth will kiss them.
No careful thumb will press them down
to forever embrace an envelope full of promise.
“And neither snow, nor rain, nor heat,
nor gloom of night…” can hope
to threaten them, unless coming
with the force of storms, or floods, or fires, or thieves in the night.
They are missed opportunities,
filed away in a book
until the magnifying glass
stretches their details under their master’s nostalgic eye.
But adoration wanes with time
and masters and paper,
becoming brittle, go to dust.
We are as akin to the stamp as the philatelist,
for what is life and memory
but collected regret?