DEAD COUNTRIES, donnarkevic


Edward collects stamps from dead countries,
places that no longer exist on maps.

Alexandria (1899-1931)
An Egyptian port on the Mediterranean,
Alexandria once hosted a library
consisting of papyrus reed scrolls
containing the wisdom of the ancient world.
Cleopatra, scorned by Marc Antony,
burned it down quicker than Dresden.
Edward’s wife, Alexandria, left him
holding his scrolls for a truck driver
named Tony, a dumb Dago WOP,
who couldn’t locate Italy on a globe.

Belgian Congo (1886-1960)
On Sunday mornings, Edward fixed
Belgian waffles for his wife;
for Valentine’s Day,
he bought her Belgian chocolates;
on New Year’s Eve,
he danced the conga like Fred Astaire
but still lost his Ginger Rogers.

Orange Free State (1860-1900)
Oranges do not grow in Pennsylvania.
Perhaps Alexandria preferred Florida.
Perhaps the half wits Tony possessed
enabled him to locate the orange state
on an Esso interstate highway map.
Perhaps they are dancing the conga
on a beach free of philatelists.

Prince Edward Island (1861-1873)
Edward collected every stamp,
the country in existence
for only twelve years,
the length of their marriage,
the number of the motel room
he found Alexandria and Tony,
the number of stab wounds
the medical examiner counted,
the pattern like postage stamp edges
cancelled right above their hearts.



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