Elise, Your Phone Is Ringing


If this is a poem about loss

                           then let’s mention your cell phone

dropped into the high grass

                           in front of a boarded up house

                           between Little Five Points

                           and Candler Park,

                           in the Atlanta

which is always under revision

from drug dealer domicile

to gentrified bungalow

only to peel and chip back

              to the low rent and then the abandoned

like the antique windows

              salvaged by graphic designers

                           still hanging from chains on the porches,

their cathedral glass casting ruby red

              splash across the warping wood

              in the light of a flickering street lamp.


Your phone only missed

after rounds of Painkillers

after casting eyes at the waiter

after paying the bill in the agonies

                           of drunken math.

You led a pack of women down the sidewalk,

                           all of us calling out, “Elise! Elise!”

                           to our own phones,

                           to the heat laden night,

                           to the flat gray light polluted cosmos,

                           and the kudzu slumping green monsters above us

                           as the cicadas all thrummed

to drown out the ring

of the small Samsung red flip phone

                           we rang and rang again.

Elise! Elise! We are stumbling to find your voice

              amongst cigarette butts and crushed coffee cups,

                           amongst PBR carcasses and lotto tickets.

We are pilgrims in our seersucker dresses,

                                         Hosannah, Hosannah,

and we are palms out

                           we are clicking and clacking

in our prayer beads looping between our breasts

              we are high heels tripping

we are perfume

              smearing the night into artificial bloom

and when we hear your phone’s trilling tones

                           we scream triumphant,

                           we paw the grass,

                           we find it,

                           grasp it,

                           your hand clasps mine,

                           Elise! Elise! pick up.

Copyright © 1999-2017 Juked