Winter 1996 • Vol. XVIII No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1996 |

Local Call

You handle me like I'm a local call. I'm expensive. Long distance—although having never been loved I don't know how   to tell you so. So I answer the phone, anticipate its diamond ring and let you handle me like I'm a local call,   your line old as an old simile, stale as a dead metaphor, you who's always had, having. Never been loved, I don't know how   not to wish you would not stop stop not loving me, the sidewalk running past me, you handle me like I'm a local, call,   laugh in another language, hung phone screaming, me unsure whether my anger volcano or match— I don't know, having never been loved, how   to love, my mind stalled with grafitti, imagination sore, hum "don't want nobody don't want me," accept your local call, having never been loved, knowing I don't know how.

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