Compassion Fatigue, poetry

Shadow Boxer

The phone rings,
your name prints up,
black bold Chicago letters
accompanied by your number.
I’ve weighed the matter in ounces and grams,
pints and half pints,
through minutes, hours, months, years,
even a millennium
before my hand reached out to grip the phone;
securing the call, before the answering machine.

Via microwave and long optical fibers,
strung up on crucifixes which parallel the tar river
in rack and file.
Your voice prattles in my ear:
A trickle,
a fog which blanketed the slumbering fields,
crystals of light bouncing about the leaves;
then a coyote sticks his head out. Yaps.

You wanted me to see,
without comparison
without using the word karma or slut.
I tried.
I swore to myself,
I would see;
however, I failed.
My focus was too feeble.

You are restless.
You want to tell me
how you feel inside.

You wanted me to listen
yet not be reminded of the dense fermentation
of inescapable memories which permeated the air.
You talk as if you cared.
I struggled.
I’ve listened close,
walking about the house
cradling the battered black cordless phone,
tightly between Ear and Collarbone.
If only I could have nudged you awake.

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