by Will Cordeiro

I sat on my couch eating corn chips. The mail-lady would come soon. Perhaps she’d drop something in the little letterbox slot in my door. One day, I was certain, it would be the message I awaited, the announcement of an immutable truth: a letter that would produce a pure rapture, a few lines that would change my life. From whom it would come, what its message would say, wither I would go upon reading its words—these remained, of course, a mystery. I heard her lightsome footsteps down the hall. I jumped up from my couch, tossed my bag of corn chips aside, and hovered near the door. My ear like a suction-cup pressed again the paneling. An envelope flew in the slot. It was addressed “To Current Resident.” In fact, it was the same junk mail—a coupon for a new donut shop—I’d received yesterday. A duplicate or accident perhaps? Dejected, I looked around at my messy apartment: other junk mail, overdue bills, catalogs for camping gear and lingerie, crumpled Chinese fortunes and crumbs from the cookies they’d resided in, the crossword section of the Sunday Times, a translation of Virgil, and nutrition facts on the back of my corn chips bag… Suddenly, I had a belated inspiration: could it be, the message had already arrived! Maybe I had overlooked its significance. Perhaps the second coupon for the donut shop meant something different, more profound than the first? After all, I remembered Borges’s parable of Pierre Menard. The signs were right here; the signs were all around me. The message had arrived long ago, only—what I needed was a method, a process by which I could be assured of its indubitable, its astonishing interpretation.

Will Cordeiro has work appearing or forthcoming in Best New Poets, Copper Nickel, DIAGRAM, Fourteen Hills, Nashville Review, Poetry Northwest, The Threepenny Review, Zone 3, and elsewhere. His chapbooks are “Reveries and Opinions of Mr. Figure” (RDP, 2016) and “Never-never” (White Knuckle, 2017). He also co-edits the small press Eggtooth Editions. He teaches in the Honors College at Northern Arizona University.