Response to Wislawa Szymborska’s “Receiver”

tell a phone


I dream that I’m woken
by the telephone.

I dream the certainty
that someone dead is calling.

I dream that I reach
for the receiver.

Only the receiver’s
not how it used to be,
it’s gotten heavy
as if it had grabbed onto something,
grown into something,
and wrapped its roots around it.
I’d have to rip the whole Earth
out with it.

I dream my useless

I dream the quiet,
since the ringing’s stopped.

I dream I fall asleep
and wake up again.

Wislawa Szymborska





you will dream with open eyes
that you will hear the ringer

you will sleep with uncertainty
and make love to its sound

the rainbow will be your asphalt
while the telephone is a wheel.

in these memoirs, don’t look
don’t listen to how it used to be
never phantom the sound of your name
the beaming frequency of call
of telephone hung by a lamp
or of waves that resonate without a tear.
I am tired of the same blank pages
holding repeated lines and stale sins.

so while you sleep
know it is gone

while you dream
the ringer hit the gong

if you wake, sleep awake
if you don’t, don’t doubt my soul.


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