Postcard

Original Text: 
Margaret Atwood, Selected Poems II: Poems Selected & New 1976-1986 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987): 61.
1I'm thinking about you. What else can I say?
2The palm trees on the reverse
3are a delusion; so is the pink sand.
4What we have are the usual
5fractured Coke bottles and the smell
6of backed-up drains, too sweet,
7like a mango on the verge
8of rot, which we have also.
9The air clear sweat, mosquitoes
10& their tracks; birds, blue & elusive.
11Time comes in waves here, a sickness, one
12day after the other rolling on;
13I move up, it's called
14awake, then down into the uneasy
15nights but never
16forward. The roosters crow
17for hours before dawn, and a prodded
18child howls & howls
19on the pocked road to school.
20In the hold with the baggage
21there are two prisoners,
22their heads shaved by bayonets, & ten crates
23of queasy chicks. Each spring
24there's a race of cripples, from the store
25to the church. This is the sort of junk
26I carry with me; and a clipping
27about democracy from the local paper.
28Outside the window
29they're building the damn hotel,
30nail by nail, someone's
31crumbling dream. A universe that includes you
32can't be all bad, but
33does it? At this distance
34you're a mirage, a glossy image
35fixed in the posture
36of the last time I saw you.
37Turn you over, there's the place
38for the address. Wish you were
39here. Love comes
40in waves like the ocean, a sickness which goes on
41& on, a hollow cave
42in the head, filling and pounding, a kicked ear.
Publication Start Year: 
1981
Publication Notes: 
True Stories (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1981).
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2009
Special Copyright: 

"Postcard" &#169; Margaret Atwood. Printed gratis, and specifically for <i>Representative Poetry Online</i>, with permission of the author. As published in <i>Selected Poems II: Poems Selected & New 1976-1986</i> (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987). Any other use, including reproduction for any purposes, educational or otherwise, will require explicit written permission from Margaret Atwood.