While there is mail there is hope.
After we have hung up I can’t recall
Your words, and your voice sounds strange
Whether from a distance, a bad cold, deceit I don’t know.
When you call I’m asleep
Or bathing or my mouth is full of toast
I can’t think of what to say.
“We have rain?” “We have snow?”
Let us write instead: surely our fingers spread out
With pen and paper touch more of mind’s flesh
Than the sound waves moving from throat to lips
To phone, through wire, to one ear.
I can touch the paper you touch.
I can see you undress in your calligraphy.
I can read you over and over.
I can read you day after day.
I can wait at the mailbox with my hair combed,
In my best suit.
I hang up. What did you say?
What did I say? Your phone call is gone.
I hold the envelope you addressed in my hand.
I hold the skin that covers you.