Special Delivery

An unexpected
package
arrived
last week,
special
delivery.

Old-fashioned,
brown paper
hugged
the box as
timelessly
as Savta’s
shawled
shoulders
on a snowy
night.

Twine
secured
its
perimeter.
Identical
rank
and file
knots
held
fast,
with
signature,
military
precision.

Kitchen
shears
cut
clean
each
knot’s
final salute.

Brown
paper
curtains
parted
wide
open
to bare
a box
as plain
as its
wrapper.

Atop
its
simple
lid,
a well-
worn
bill of sale
sat
with the
languid
ease
of a
wrangler
on a
saddle.

The
back
side of
this
receipt
ledgered
a single
line.

The
entry,
thumb-
polished
soft
by use,
coffee-
stained
and fragile
read,

“I
put it
in
a box
for you.”

Tulip
bulbs
nestled
cozy
amid
layered
nests
of the
Mosinee
Times.

Someone
with
nursery-
man skill
had taken
meticulous
care to
keep them
cool
and
safe.

Every
prized
bulb
had been
gently
brushed
to remove
residual
dust.

Recent
sunbaths
had
completely
dried
each one.

Damaged
bulbs
had
been
saved.

Careful
exam
identified
their
injured
areas.

Tertiary
care
protocols
had been
methodically
administered.

Fungicide
veiled
their
wounds,
like
a fresh
snowfall,
a shroud
of prevention
to thwart
further
decay.

I grew up
on farms.

I knew
to store
this
treasure
chest
in a
cool,
dry
place.

The wind
whispered
steady
as I stowed
them away
on a shelf
in the garage.

“I
put
them
in
a box
for you.

“A
box,
not
a
coffin.

“They’re
Tangerine
Beauties.

“I’ll
let you
know
when
they’re
ready
to plant
sunrise.”

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew her
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

c. 2017 Not to be reproduced or used without author permission.