After the tone, there is only a gap
I can try to pack with words.
It is like singing a serenade into the eye
of an utterly useless skull,
its dusty smile locked in the bones.
I press my nose to the mouthpiece,
draw out the foul odours
of small talk. We were always shouting
down telephones from separate rooms,
coughing goodbyes in hotel beds.
Room service charged us the earth.
The white walls shrank to a telephone box
so I always kept change on the bedside.
Those were the best times to call—
3am. I could shock you into greeting,
listen to you wake and turn furious.
Now I must leave you a message,
a small skeleton of words
you will shoulder to your ear whilst you dress.
I hesitate, hold the phone like a breadknife.
Make the first terrible cut. Hello.
My heart jumps like a punched number.
On and on it flatlines—