Jon Riccio

Parenting Wil Wheaton

Why am I comforted by the sight of a mailman buying newspapers in a drugstore,
standing behind him with the medicine that thinks my liver for me? The linkages

we make, staring at Valentines a shade of sangria, romance novels facing animal-
striped canes. Zebra metal on reconnaissance, never have I heard a color jackal.

The mailman's toothpick I mistake for a scar. He's similar in appearance to the father
from Stand By Me, not Richard Dreyfuss's Gordie Lachance, who looks like Cousin

Raymond, who went into the hair business first. My father followed after his stint
in the VA hospital the year he was felled by a telephone pole, or so I heard

the Christmas we spent on the Italian side, a train toggling us from Michigan
to New York, sweatshirts of the Barcelona Olympics squared into red giftboxes,

purple bows mourning their pre-Cupid tone. The mailman resembles Wil Wheaton's
screen paternal, Marshall Bell as scavenged on IMDB. The letter deliverer, likely

beginning his postal sojourn, given the stabability of civil service, my guidance
counselor called it. His brochures purported direction in the time of mahogany trinkets,

the Shophenge an elective provides. We had two mailboxes, one at the driveway's
ready, the backup (in case anyone flattened the first, as I would on my brother's

wedding day) behind an oak that deterred basketballs from the Herby Curby
designated MULCH. Trotted out twice yearly, it was an Iago understudy for

some Shakespearean landfill, high theater in the recycling director's teeth.
The mailman with two Heralds, leg length obeying body traffic, Gwen Stefani

ebullient post-No Doubt, her "Hollaback Girl" what your ears least expect inching
past the Epsom and debriding agents. This floor is the cleanest I'll walk all day

wondering who in my family will don orthotics first. Legion, the relatives with
cold feet, Reynard's syndrome my mother researched when she wrote the health

columnist. Kalamazoo's impresario of the op-ed visited my high school journalism
class when I wore T-shirts with instruments on them. A bleached cello began

the week. Me, fascinated by a Wendy's worker in ketchup loafers, his father
the retired judge, gavels under his eyes when I see him at chili dinners in a county

of cilantro ecclesiastics. Why cayenne, why the letter carrier comfort? My father
encouraged civil service as stability's route. Tell them you'll take anything.

This, after he vacated his barber capes for a collection-agency address.
I'm a writer because I ran out of zip codes to be fired in. The 49000s

have a way of destabilizing, not unlike jaundice to a PO Box, its combo
the datum of a David who took my hand in a sauna once, sweaty twenty-

year-olds sharing a Walkman in the medicine-ball past, campus mail
after a three-orange breakfast, enzymes–to the letter–aligned.

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