At the post office,
I complimented the woman behind the counter
on her face mask, covered in butterflies.
She glared at me and when I handed her a twenty
said they preferred if I could pay with a card,
said that there is a national coin shortage.
I made some joke about looking for change
in the sofa cushions. The woman
continued to glare. She asked me
if there was any contraband in my package,
any controlled substances, weapons or chemicals
or fireworks, any live animals.
Just a couple of books for my mother, I said.
She told me I had the zip code wrong,
made it sound like a personal affront,
made me change it myself.
I corrected it and put my card in the slot
and thought about the statues coming down,
the slave-owners freed from their pedestals,
the founding fathers finding themselves
tumbling to Earth. I thought about replacing
the faces on the coins with pictures of animals.
We've already tried eagles and buffalo,
why not jackrabbits, termites, porcupines.
As she printed my receipt I kept making
stupid jokes, trying to get her
to lighten up, but it was useless.
There was no smile beneath those butterflies.