Marianne Shaneen

The Peekaboo Theory

with each relinquishing of letter into mailbox, the
possibility of being lost to linger among forsaken
valentines, coffin plates inscribed at rest, live toads,
snakes, beetles, hat boxes, accordions, stuffed alligators,
grave flowers, batwings, a bundle of old letters tied with a
ribbon and note saying I return herewith your letters; all
is over between us
, lists to Santa, letters to g-d, requests
for new parents, letters to the dead, cries for help
addressed to 'whoever may find this letter'

blind letter: a letter indistinctly or incorrectly addressed

blind man: the employee in the British post office who
specialized in deciphering illegible addresses; what
couldn't be read even by the blind man went to the dead
letter office

word as if animated, what's undeliverable is called dead,
enveloping mortality of the sender when she's unable to get
in touch

dispirited bodies, unclaimed dead, misfired missives

Morgue of the Mails: filled with bodies legible only by loved ones

Limbo of Undeliverables: oblivion where souls waylaid cannot
enter heaven due to inadequate postage (unbaptised),
incorrect addressing (marked by sin), illegible writing (not
realizing you are dead)

Attempts at Resuscitation: dead letter office employees are
the only ones lawfully allowed to break the sanctity of the
mail by opening it to search for clues to find the intended

Funeral Rites: what used to be solemnly burned. 3,600
epistolary pounds sent to giant paper shredders each day, in
order to retain privacy

Resurrection: post offices are now using recycled
undeliverable mail to make pencils; perhaps bits of a lost
letter of ours are in this pencil I'm writing you with now,
(I stole it from the post office)