Liquid, fragile, perishable, or potentially hazardous

In the United States whenever a person brings a package to the post office to send, the postal workers ask one question. There are signs all over the place … you cannot ship snakes, bombs, blood, illegal drugs or fireworks. But they can only ask one question: “Is there anything liquid, fragile, perishable or potentially hazardous?”

I send enough packages that I go into my local post office saying, before the clerk can even open his or her mouth, “Nothing liquid, fragile, perishable, or potentially hazardous.”

There is some truth in there about Jesus …

Liquid, fragile, perishable or potentially hazardous

I wanted to send you Jesus in the mail,
because, though he is
sweat and tears and blood,
and blood to give away,
he isn’t all liquid
and there was that absolutely
incident on the sea.

And fragile? Well he broke down
when Lazarus died
and his temper snapped
over the coin-swappers and pigeon-cagers.
He would have been
just one more Bethlehem baby,
if his dad didn’t believe in dreams,
and, under the ribs, his side was
all too pierceable …

that he looked perishable,
but fragile or perishable
as he appeared,
he ripped right out of those grave clothes
and tucked into a little gardening
before the Emmaus roadtrip,
the fish fry breakfast on the beach.

In the end the postal authorities –
like most authorities – anytime, anywhere,
handed him back to me
because I couldn’t prove

that Jesus is not potentially hazardous
to injustice and hypocrisy,
my peace of mind,
your demons and accidental swine,
the well-laid plans of would-be disciples,
the truth of auto-Pilates,

or any of the other lovelessnesses
we package up, we send.

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4 Responses to Liquid, fragile, perishable, or potentially hazardous

  1. Jan Fairchild says:

    Powerful metaphor. Thank you.

  2. Lynne Frith says:


    This is just lovely.



    Lynne Frith

    130 Grafton Road


    Auckland 1010

    (M)(+64) 021 659 112

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