Death always rings us by telephone.
We have programmed an especially loud brrring-a-ding
into the handset
to mimic the wee-aah of the European siren.
The ring charges our adrenaline, jumps
us out of bed,
but we revel in its familiarity--
drink in its tones
cradling the plastic between ear and shoulder like
the lolling head of a newborn baby.
We prefer a few rings to compose
a more rhythmic breath.
In this way, our panic remains private.
by the nine-number pad and breaths
crackling across space.
Death comes to us over the wires
from a hospital bed in Idaho
an abandoned mine shaft in Germany
catacombs in New York
labs in Colorado.
We wait for the ring
and toll in the years that way.