Poem #10

Awkward conversation

This is for the man who rang my phone at 11:57pm last Wednesday night.
You know who you are.
I picked up the phone expecting conversation,
something enlightening,
maybe some little story about your day,
maybe you’d ask about mine….I don’t know.
Instead it went more like….hello….. to which I responded ……hey what’s up?
and then silence for about 10 seconds.
In case you didn’t know,
10 seconds of silence is a long time of quiet at the beginning of a conversation.
So, me, already feeling the call of my pillow in the crook of my neck says sooooooo?
as if to remind him of his purpose for ringing my phone;
As if I need to spell out to this grown up why he even picked up the phone-
In case he forgot who he called or what he needed…….
Why he existed at all….whatever the reason was
Then he says-‘I just wanted to say hi.”

Now my brain explodes.
Now, I am in between the questions and the motives.
Now, I am searching for explanation that is not on his tongue not on his lips
probably not even on his heart –
But I am trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.
So before I pounce I breathe.

I say “that’s nice” as if I am speaking to a child.
I say “is that all you wanted to say?”
leaving him the space to be himself,
Leaving him the room to move around,
To spread petals on the floor
To pull a book off the Shelf
give a news report
To tell me about his day
inquire about mine
ask me what I ate for dinner
I leave him room to step
To roam around
All this empty space
I am waiting for him to fill but there is only silence.
Deafening silence.

So many words unsaid and now I am growing irritated.
Irritated that he bothered to call
With nothing to say
With no story to tell
No interesting facts to share
Or wisdom to wield
And then he asks “are you getting ready for bed?”
To which I respond- “I’m already there.”
And I can hear him smile.

Now, I am questioning motives again.
I tell him ‘I’ve got a lot to do tomorrow.’
I wait.
He says- “I wish I was there.”

And I let the words lay dormant a while.
I let them sit inside the crevice of the stream he planned-
Let them dangle on the line squirming for the life he thought they’d have.
I leave them there long enough to get cold;
Become awkward.
Long enough for him to deliberate, theorize, contemplate.
But all he says is -“did you hear me?”

As if I needed to hear the words again
Hear him confirm what I already believed
I say -“yes”.
Nothing else. Silence again.
I don’t need to respond.
There is nothing here that demands my reply.
This is the white noise that is left between two people
When there is nothing left to feel-
When silence changes the atmosphere
When all he wants is booty or warm body just for a night
Maybe he misses my French toast and eggs in the morning
Or the way he used to press himself into the outline of my body
When we slept
But I am not some shallow form
I am not some pit stop on your way to being alone
I am not your late night snack or early morning coffee
I am not that girl
And the silence speaks volumes and I hope it reminds you again
That this is not the place to come to hang your hat
Or fill your belly or read a book
You have other places for that
so I let him hang himself with the rope
he brought when he picked up the phone to call me.

He says-“I guess you’re tired” as if I need an excuse
As if I don’t hear his quiet plea
I say…”yeah, definitely so”. He says “ok, I will call you tomorrow “
But what he doesn’t know is
Tomorrow, I won’t even pick up the phone.

6 thoughts on “Poem #10

  1. What an incredible journey through a phone conversation where the distance between two people is more than miles – and your awareness of his attempted connection far outstrips his understanding of the call. A beautifully crafted poem drawing us intimately into this conversation and your thoughts as it falters and dies.

  2. I like that you let him have his loneliness, even though you know it’s not without other motives. The line “When there is nothing left to feel” could be the wave that flows through this conversation.

  3. Nice writing. You kept me hanging on for more information that never came but I was enticed enough to read on. The eternity of 10 seconds and your brain exploding leaving empty space, words well chosen and at last he thinks, you may be tired at 11:57 pm

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