On the Phone
On the Phone
When it rings, followed by that long distance static
I brace myself. It’s the wrong hour for a chat.
And as she speaks, I feel seasick
Strange brine and bile rising in my mouth.
The phone falls from the desk, I was pulling too hard.
I kneel for it, bending into the chair, unbalanced
As if my ship were listing to the right.
Its hull’s cargo all dislodged.
Now her words form a harpoon.
Something huge and black pitches about in the small room.
Spewing, whipping about too fast
His wet tail knocking all the furniture.
Come home, she says, it’s time.
When I left the house the sun had just begun pulling down.
Acorns crackled under foot and globes of persimmon bright orange
Hung forgotten on a tree near the edge of a field.
I couldn’t help but reach for one less bruised.
Surprised when it exploded in my gloved hand,
Orange sinews and sputum. I pulled back the puckered flesh
To suck in the glands of sweet juice, fruit of heaven.
But my black dog wanted nothing to do with it. She tugged on her leash
Eager to pull me up hill to the lost farm.
We trudged past manicured vines and olive trees
Tending the dark-eyed farmhouse like sentries. It was the quiet
And a bit of breathlessness from the climb that kept us there.
Out of nowhere, a net of black stars rose from the field. They spun and soared,
Plummeted, daredevil diving as they had done for the Etruscans,
For the Romans, and now for me and the little black dog.
The sun slid further down.
The dog barked. The starlings reeled towards darkness
But I hesitated to head for home.
If I could read their urgent dispatch I could save the world.