—for my friend Sarah
A woman leaves a man and a child
& for years they leave messages on my machine.
Quando, he said softly yesterday and then sang
A few more words before he hung up.
Last week the little boy’s Mama, mi Mama &
other words I don’t remember but for the sound—
Every A and O a deep hollow
You could fall in listening:
“Come home Mama,” in English.
When I open the blind today
The swallows fly towards the window
And over the house.
Earlier the well stopped running.
The dog barks even when no one is there.
There’s a consequence for everything.
The birds find the empty cottonwoods,
I trigger the latch and the water flows,
The dog sleeps, banished to the laundry room.
There’s a shape the exact dimension
Of my father’s death, not a picture, but a song
That travels from head to belly—
And a place below my ribcage
Where Sarah lives, two children gone now,
One to go.
On the her wall overlooking the woods,
The girls still walks across the spider’s web
Palms turned upward and empty.
I know I should call them,
The man and the boy,
& tell them they have the wrong number.
“I am not your wife—”
& “forgive me baby, I can’t come home today—”
My voice a shape
They leave her absence with
For a few minutes each week.
What’s the consequence of that?
She, whoever she is, runs above
The phone wires, always just
Ahead of the call,
Blossoming, without pity or reward,
In my voice.