archangel-gabriel-annunciate-1433
Gabriel
             Patron Saint of Postal Workers
by Marjorie Maddox

Behold, I bring you tidings
of new stamps, of short-haired
schnauzers with sharp teeth,
forecasts of sleet, extra city blocks,
rain the size of Dobermans to dog-and-cat down.
And you will All-Hail the hail of Hades,
snow will suction your Slim-Fast hips,
humidity will hug your lips
till you swallow its hunger.

But lo, I am with you alway
with good digestion and balance,
parkas equipped for the fickleness
of weather, light sweaters for global warming,
blessings against shin splints and blisters.
And you will have long memory
for zip codes, broad smiles for strangers,
birth announcements and love letters in your arms.
O, messenger of mercy and joy,
even unto the end
of your blessed earthly career.

Previously published in Christianity and Literature.

IMAGE: Archangel Gabriel at the Annunciation by Fra Angelico.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Raised in the Protestant tradition, I grew up knowing very little about the Catholic saints. As I became more and more liturgical, I was both surprised and intrigued to learn there was a patron saint for just about everyone: hairdressers, pawn shop owners, funeral directors, baseball fans—the list seemed endless. Eventually my interest and research turned into a long series of poems, which became a section of my book Weeknights at the Cathedral .  “Gabriel: Patron Saint of Postal Workers” is part of that collection. Little did we know that “pandemics” would be added to “snow, sleet, and hail” as hurdles.

Marjorie Maddox 2019 author photo with TTT jpg copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Winner of America Magazine’s 2019 Foley Poetry Prize and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry—including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); True, False, None of the Above (Illumination Book Award Medalist); Local News from Someplace Else; Perpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award)—the story collection What She Was Saying (Fomite Press); four children’s and YA books—including  Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Readiing Poems with Insider Exercises (Finalist Children’s Educational Category 2020 International Book Awards), A Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in Poetry ; Rules of the Game: Baseball Poems; and I’m Feeling Blue, Too!, Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (co-editor); Presence (assistant editor); and 600+ stories, essays, and poems in journals and anthologies. Her book Begin with a Question is forthcoming from Paraclete Press in 2021. Visit her at marjoriemaddox.com and on Twitter