When your ex-fiancé calls you should be busy.
Let him feel the lush delight of interrupting
something. Have soapy hands, something risky
and pungent on the stove, your carton of eggs
out and warming on the counter. Pick up the phone
like something delicate, a rattle made of jagged
rocks and glass. Hold it to the round of your ear.
Remember him whispering. Those sounds
could crack the glass at any moment. Don’t fear
them. While he talks about his job, his wife, wander.
Explore your bookshelf. Touch the tiny books
he found for you in thrift stores.
Let his Latin dictionary open in your hand
and understand: lapsus means slip; lingue, tongue.
Of course. Your hello, that slip, sticks food to pan.
As you rush back to the stove, listen again and hear—
at last, over the smoke alarm—How are you?
Don’t think. Say you’re fine. Lick the receiver.
BELLEE JONES-PIERCE is an Assistant Professor of English at Centenary College of Louisiana whose primary research areas are early modern literature, disability, and poetics. Her work has appeared in Rhino, Rattle, Former People, Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature, and The Journal.
Art: “Every woman deserves” by Kenneth Ricci, Cut/Paste Paper Collage