"I was going to come out and visit you," I told him
after he said those obligatory words about friendship.

Another incoherent half-hour of half-truths slithered through
the long-distance lines;
the ambiguity was lost for good.

"I had no idea your program was so difficult," John finally said. And hung up.

Afterward, 3500 miles of silence roared between us.
I recovered in record time,
before the receiver was even back in its cradle.

I opened, then, a small wound in the middle of a long blue scar
that had been healing for eighteen days.

And tucked eighteen receipts for ten dollars each between the pages of my PDR,
pressing them like flowers.

Roommate made me tea.
He must've heard my half of the phone conversation
through the closed door.

forward          anywhere         lines