OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 6

Lauren Bender

Communication

 


You know I don't have much to say. Your voice
fades a second or two before you're done speaking,
 
because you can't wait to cut the microphone
and run. Even though you struck the best front
 
I've ever seen. Played it so cool and deep.
Last week in group someone asked: who was it
 
that brought up the metaphor of light
, and this girl
shouted: it was me! all excited, and you and I
 
looked at each other and smiled. Later on the phone
you sounded hoarse, and I wasn't sure if you were sick
 
or if it was that affectation you sometimes have
of grittiness, of the world-weary smoker in a bar
 
matching the other customers shot for shot.
Are you okay? I asked, to which you responded,
 
after a long pause: I wish you would talk to me.
The inflection so delicious I wanted to beg you
 
to say it again, just like that. Did you
hear me?
you said, and not for the first time
 
I was surprised to find myself still
existing in a conversation. Still that other half.
 
It was the perfect opportunity to speak,
to take this seriously. Come on, I said, it's us.
 
We don't need to fill the world with useless noise.
We're above it.
But you knew I was recording
 
the call and how I couldn't wait for the end
so I could listen again – play back
 
you, skip me, play you, play I wish you would
talk to me
– and you were quiet and angry.

Lauren Bender lives in Burlington, VT. Her work has appeared in IDK Magazine, The Collapsar, Gyroscope Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Yes Poetry, and others. You can find her on twitter @benderpoet.