I am a telephone ringing in mid air,
a chair pushed back from the dining room
table after a long conversation.
Speak to me again. Say my name.
The rice, cold not close, still marries
the bride and groom. The holster
fires like a gun.
The reins of the cottonwood trees go slack
and the field lies down on itself.
Bird songs overlap their notes
in the fluttering.
I am hungry for the earth. Aren’t you?
Come to me. Say my name.
The sun made me ten stories tall
when I walked in the lines
of the labyrinth keeper’s rake. One story
made me wiser than I am and I could feel
the geese fly out of me although
they barely moved their wings.
Say my name.
The dressing room mirror revealed three lives
in that face but she saw only two.
The horse and child mattered to her,
the other life was mine.
Is that call for me?
—from Rattle #30, Winter 2008
Jonathan Wells: “This poem came from different locations and states of mind. In each case the mood was interrupted by a phone call until I realized that the telephone was the connection between its unlikely parts. The name and its repetition are the poem’s form of reassurance.”