Glass. Packages. Blood.

My daughters spent years playing with glass containers. Sure, we also had the usual endless assortment of empty yogurt containers, the odd plastic collection, the paper cups such as the beloved Easter bunny cups (known lovingly as cups-with-bunnies), but we made and sold maple syrup for years.

At one point, wedding favors in leaf or heart bottles was a chunk of our livelihood. I made endless trips to different maple distributors, loading up the back of my station wagon and often around my daughters in carseats with cardboard boxes of glass. That 8oz maple leaf with a gold foil top? Top seller.

I packed and shipped maple syrup in the PO’s flat rate boxes. Those boxes made shipping syrup a viable family endeavor, and I knew all the post offices in my small sphere of travel. Headed to story hour at the library? I swung by the Greensboro post office. Picking up more glass? East Montpelier post office. Need bike parts? Morrisville.

I had a “well, duh,” moment this week at the post office when I weighed a package to my parents. The clerk kindly handed me a flat rate box, tape, and a mailing label. I asked for use of a pen, too, then stripped off my winter coat and hat, and went to repackaging work in the PO corner. I sliced my fingertip on the blade of the knife dispenser and bled on the label and then on my check. All those years, so many bottles filled with sand and pebbles, with colored water and concoctions of leaves and flower blossoms, and I don’t remember a single glass cut on my daughters’ little hands.

I ripped up the check I’d bloodied and wrote another, left-handed and nearly illegible.

Cutting into with the ax,

I was surprised at the scent of.

The winter trees.

— Issa

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