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Collect Call

Somewhere out there, an operator plugged in
            the wire of your voice to the switchboard

of Arkansas where I am
            happy to accept the charges—an act so antique
                         I think of Sputnik beeping

overhead, lovers petting in Buicks
            and glowing with the green of radium dials.

But what you've called to say is lost
            in the line's wreckage of crackle and static.

The night you went away
            the interstate glowed red beneath the flaring
                         fins of your father's Cadillac.

Now this collect call
            from outer space & what you've called to say
                         is clear at last: Among stars

lovers come and go easy as you please. It's the gravity
            of Earth that makes letting go so hard.

Ash Bowen

The Even Years of Marriage
Dream Horse Press

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