When You Call

Answering to my name isn’t enough.
I have to prepare the person
you expect to meet when he opens the door.

It’s a difficult task. He’s here
the way breath is, the way the past is,
but so is the Earth, the Universe,

gypsy jazz and radicchio,
and to fold them down into the size of a man
isn’t something I’m good at.

It all fits poorly, bulges, leaks,
and I like the leaks so much,
the music they make, I don’t want to talk;

I want to listen through you:
to hear what my ears alone
can’t hear of our notes in the scale:

the sound of the spheres igniting us both.
Which is what talking is,
I suppose, but to converse,

while listening to the music
behind the talk we make,
requires me to construct someone

and put him in charge of the tongue.
Sometimes he disappears
and the mouth lapses into a silence

that stretches on and stretches on,
and you begin to wonder,
understandably, whether I’m all there.

Ricky Ray is a disabled poet, critic and editor who lives in the old green hills with his old brown dog, Addie. He is the author of Fealty (Diode Editions, 2019), Quiet, Grit, Glory (Broken Sleep Books, 2020) and The Sound of the Earth Singing to Herself (Fly on the Wall Press, 2020). He was educated at Columbia University and the Bennington Writing Seminars, and is the founding editor of Rascal: A Journal of Ecology, Literature and Art.

You can see more of his work in 8.4 and 8.4 and 5.3

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