i ordered a handmade shirt from an artist online and we are in a pandemic even though some people think it’s all a hoax and this pandemic has brought mail service to a pace leaky and sputtering

i order shirts and then forget
about them. i order shirts
and then they show up
in my mail and
i don’t know what they are.

i don’t have my own
mailbox as i don’t have my own
home. i lived in a
tiny converted garage
for a year and there i had
my own mailbox.
then i moved
to an old and uninsulated cabin
on a tiny island in a southeast
Alaskan berried bay and that
did not have a mailbox so
i had my mail sent to the home
of my mom. my mom
who lives also on an
island in southeast Alaska,
though that island is not
tiny.

i left the tiny island and
its uninsulated cabin and
moved back to the massive and
rainforest’d island to housesit for
half a year.

i do not have a mailbox
with the housesit.

soon, the house will no longer require
sitting, and i will move
onto an old sailboat down at the
transient dock in the harbor.
the waitlist for
a permanent harbor stall
is many years long.

i will continue
not having a mailbox and
continue having my mail sent to
my mom’s house. and
i will continue ordering shirts
and continue forgetting about them.
and my body will continue
to pool and maybe it might also go taut.
and i will open surprise packages that
arrive to my mom’s mailbox
with my name on them and
i will look
with wonder and confusion
at the shirts contained within.
and i will sheepishly shed
my clothes and place upon
my pooling body a
new shirt.

and i will dislike the tide pool of
fat around my midsection.
and i will shudder with chagrin at the
fat that gathers at my chest,
just off to the side of
shy pectoral muscles.
and i will age and i will regret
and i will order shirts that i will then
forget about and i will be
surprised when they arrive
to my mother’s mailbox.
and i will be terrified
by the state of my body when
it receives the forgotten shirt.
and i will remember
to be thankful for
a body that works, even
if it is an ocean,
an ebb and flow of
fat and arousal and beard
hair and thinning pate;
sadness and pain and little pinpricks
of joy and the blooms of blood
that trace game trails and bushwhacked paths
of hope and acceptance along the
wooded fields and cleared building sites
of my body. my body
that isn’t mine. the shirt
that i didn’t make, that
i forgot about,
that showed up in
my mother’s mailbox, that
i unwrap with curiosity and
dread and my body
oh body it shakes and waves
and pools and goes rigid,
engorged, tumescent. expired.

i think i’ll not cancel my order.
my body is pooling; i am already
terrified of placing your shirt on
it. i am already in love
with my ocean, even when
it drowns me.

Published by Zak

an intertidal island in an ocean of impermanence.

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