I am beginning to view the body as a well
I could shout Hello, Hello into—
call it a mistake, hang up
out of alarm, because
what you thought you were doing answering
when you’ve been dead five whole years?
And is it really you?
How have you kept alive?
What have you grown
down there in the gloom of after like salt?
Perhaps I should say mine—the body is a salt mine.
And I never call
but you answer anyway.
Was it ever cheerful?
The sound called ringing.
Don’t talk to me,
don’t tell me I need you
disoriented, buried alive,
clawing your way up from the mouth of a cave to show me
the way home
and tell me,
what does this even mean? Tell me to spread open my palms, cut
another deck of cards face up—
these lines arch me far
I cannot stop from coming—
are you my fate,
my annihilating angel?
Tell me about my love line, my one day call me
bitch. I love that hands on
I must impossibly bloom
forth; that tallest mountain.
I dial the dead and you answer.
Hand me the telephone, let me receive
your hour of starving, your nude—promise me
I will die dark haired
and still—maybe one day the dead you and I will burn
buildings together for warmth. You will
speak to me. Tell me about me.
I want to be believed.
Believe me when I say
it is love that calls me
to the cruelty of this world.
Jill Mceldowney is the author of the chapbook “Airs Above Ground” (Finishing Line Press) as well as “Kisses Over Babylon” (dancing girl press). She is a cofounder and editor for Madhouse Press. She is also a recent National Poetry Series Finalist. Her previously published work can be found in publications such as Prairie Schooner, Muzzle, Vinyl, Fugue, and other notable publications.