Although we like to say we hate the music it’s silence on hold that’s worse.
By the grace of god the cable company occasionally checks up on me hello
you’re still there in between transfers I divine auguries from the pre-war parquet floor
the plastic paperweight on my desk salvaged from the fountain on 59th street emits memory
in the form of light. I listen to the dryer yelling to be changed. There is a sickness
to the cyclical. I try the silence ask the wall via telepathy are we all made to be tumbled
and left to dry on low? The paperweight reminds me I promised to behave I promised
not to fume so I observe the sycamores outside patiently as though they might fly away
until Michael emerges from the ether of customer services Michael of the tangible
velvet voice laughs away my exasperation likes the last four digits of my SSN
intuits the crick in my neck heavy from everybody’s scripted pity from 3 hours
of the smallest of battles of an entire Saturday morning spent on the goddamn phone
Michael knows all of this about me. I suspect he knows even more maybe everything
It’s true that a voice can have hands. There is oxygen in your employee number
I would like another customer service claim please I want to hear you read me the rules
tell me about the tiered system of Ethernet reception tell me the truth
about quotas recite your favorite number recount the whole story of that night
in Santa Monica because who gives a damn if the sycamores do fly off?
Every one of us is getting permanent pressed for a buck fifty. So confirm for me
we are not automated. In your mouth let me discern the smashing of timers.
I am tired of recovering bodies from the river,
crying picturesquely into lilies
in their fat, fragrant silence,
and tracing the intelligent grace
every loss gains in its fall. I want to wrap myself in wool
and walk down to the Hudson with you
on the last golden afternoon of the season
to drink grapefruit juice through a cold plastic straw, fresh pressed
while October fans its fires around us.
I want to kiss you without pathos
and when I begin to memorize the script of your lips
I am not interested in hearing
the ghoulish prehistory of my skull expressing itself
behind my irises. Prescience has arrived
yet again reeking of fake cherry, a tang of metal
spoons clanging in the air, and made me
sick. I refuse to measure you
in the thin units it will take us
to get to our end.
C. F. Sibley is an Assistant Editor at Parnassus: Poetry in Review and the Translation Editor for the Columbia Journal Online. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Sugar House Review, Muzzle Magazine, and Bone Bouquet. She received a scholarship to attend Breadloaf Writers' Conference, holds a BA from Middlebury College, and is currently an MFA candidate at Columbia University. She lives in Inwood.