Margaret Atwood

(18 November 1939 / Ottawa, Ontario)

Postcards - Poem by Margaret Atwood

I'm thinking about you. What else can I say?
The palm trees on the reverse
are a delusion; so is the pink sand.
What we have are the usual
fractured coke bottles and the smell
of backed-up drains, too sweet,
like a mango on the verge
of rot, which we have also.
The air clear sweat, mosquitoes
& their tracks; birds & elusive.

Time comes in waves here, a sickness, one
day after the other rolling on;
I move up, it's called
awake, then down into the uneasy
nights but never
forward. The roosters crow
for hours before dawn, and a prodded
child howls & howls
on the pocked road to school.
In the hold with the baggage
there are two prisoners,
their heads shaved by bayonets, & ten crates
of queasy chicks. Each spring
there's race of cripples, from the store
to the church. This is the sort of junk
I carry with me; and a clipping
about democracy from the local paper.

Outside the window
they're building the damn hotel,
nail by nail, someone's
crumbling dream. A universe that includes you
can't be all bad, but
does it? At this distance
you're a mirage, a glossy image
fixed in the posture
of the last time I saw you.
Turn you over, there's the place
for the address. Wish you were
here. Love comes
in waves like the ocean, a sickness which goes on
& on, a hollow cave
in the head, filling & pounding, a kicked ear.


Comments about Postcards by Margaret Atwood

  • C.ann Penning (6/17/2013 9:33:00 AM)


    Loved the imagery in this piece!

    Love comes in waves like the ocean,
    a sickness which goes on & on,
    a hollow cave in the head,
    filling & pounding, a kicked ear.... loved it!
    (Report) Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (11/8/2004 2:35:00 PM)


    time love n perhaps democracy cums in waves
    yu set th mood 4 writing abt truth
    thankx peggy
    love rox.
    (frend uv astral twin bb)
    (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: pink, school, ocean, spring, child, dream, time, howl, children, tree



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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