When the phone calls from a motel room that’s wasting its life on the
dirty thighs of a sassy-ass river, you tell your boyfriend you don’t know
who could be calling at this time of day, and no one knows where you are
anyway. He might not look away from his phone, where he’s keeping
the time with that girl from his carpool but you can tell by the refraction
of his eyes that his belief in you is growing wings, laying eggs outside the
won’t-open window, is getting ready to migrate south for the winter. So you answer the bitch. You pick that old-fashioned phone up in your fist
like a fighter aiming for the soft solar system of a belly and you say
hello? The motel room, she’s been drinking on the river a long time.
The motel room, she’s hardly got teeth left and when she says your name
it’s like slushed glass through the line. The motel room, she remembers
all of her customers, but you, you were the one she loved best. She wants
to know if you want your bones back, the ones you left under the mattress.
She wants to know if you remember how to fit your teeth in her holes.
She wants to know if that’s another motel room she can hear, rotting,
in the background. She says she’s dying. She says the river comes to her door every morning to poison her water and steal her good china. She says
you promised you’d come back and it’s been six months six years six lifetimes and she’s holding a room for you, she’s leaving the light on.
Her voice makes the inside of your arms itch in patterns of three.
The handset is heavy as guilt, unwilling to be put down.
There’s no number to reach an outside line. You wrap the cord
around your wrist and go down to check the tides.
Image taken of the (working) phone in the hotel room.
Words written in a motel overlooking the river.
Ears On the people in the room next door. They’re not having sex.
Time Taken six minutes and counting.
Brain On sea lion caves. Tomorrow!