What My Ears See (1980)







When the telephone rings

I answer     hello?

Small child says hello back

In a patient mother voice

I ask


Who are you calling?

Who do you want?


Child’s garble forces me to attention

More questions


What is your name?

How old are you?


Child says she is Yvonne

She is four years old

Behind her voice

I hear raucous noise

From a television

It makes me think

Of a Jackson Pollock painting

A wild canvas of colors

With this child

In the middle of it


Where are you Yvonne?


I push my voice into the wires

Shove it against the TV racket

The tangle of colors

Into her ears


What city do you live in?

What street     what house?


I’m at …


Her words disappear into the shrillness

Of the TV

Swallowed up     unknown     unheard

Then clear as a piece of Lalique glass

She says


Are you coming to me?


A feeling of sadness begins

As I answer her


I don’t know where you are


Where are you?

Who is with you?


The chaos behind her becomes louder

The colors wilder     more violent

I raise my voice asking her



Yvonne     who is with you?


She pushes her voice into the telephone

Away from the clamor

Tells me


No one


Hangs up

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash