Friday, September 3, 2010

Opening the mail, a poem by Minnie Bruce Pratt.

Post 553 - Minnie Bruce Pratt was born September, 1946, in Selma, Alabama. She graduated from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and took her Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She’s published six books of poetry, and has received a Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Fellowship in Poetry from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Pratt emerged out of the women’s liberation movement in the 1970s and 1980s and has written extensively about race, class, gender and sexual theory. She’s currently Professor of Women’s Studies and Writing at Syracuse University.

Opening the mail by Minnie Bruce Pratt.

She used to work down in the copy center, and,
don't get her wrong, she liked it, she did. The big
Xerox engines purred, paper rolled out like money
and shot into slots like a casino payoff. But this job,
there's something new every day, the letters come in,
hundreds, thousands, from all over the place, and she
gets to open every one. The message in a bottle, the note
slid into the cashier's cage, the letter left on the bed
when she walked out the door, the handkerchief dropped
behind him during the game at recess. She slices each
open with her knife, logs it and routes it to the other girls.

But her dream is to get a camper and follow the NASCAR
races. Six days travel and on Sunday stand inside the final
circuit of sound, inside that belly. It's not the same as on TV
where it seems like they are just going round and round. Not
the same at all, she says. Every moment counts, and the air
smells like burning oil. Any minute it could burst into flames.

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