Today's poem is by Michael Tyrell

Public Phone

And on the receiverís live air, the insistent hello
from someone who has refused to hang up, the plea
divorced from all name or form,
an argumentís last word splintering
through the black pinpoints,
warped as the metal where the dialerís face floated
above square numbers, where
every voice is listed under code, like combinations
to an immense vault of wires.
Only static has figured all of them out.
I hear it like a safecrackerís tools thieving through connection,
if being invisible can be called connection.
Now it is silencing my answers
to the other voice, the living one.
Now it is peeling the two wires apart.
Has it decoded even the walkers
whose garments brush against the window glass?
I can hear their voices only in fragments,
like taped voices being rewound and then deleted.
The shopping-center doors clap shut and open,
the atonal hum returns, and out there, unidentifiable
in the crowds, how decisively the dialer must still be moving,
propelling himself from the argument,
forgetting, by degrees, the voice, the face, the number.
How decisively heís abandoning them—
murmuring itís not impossible, really,
nothing can reach me
as the poles
follow him, faceless totems surrounding
and claiming every imaginable distance.

Copyright © 2012 Michael Tyrell All rights reserved
from The Wanted
The National Poetry Review Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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