dial tone

By: Arden Pryor

I have learned to predict when the last dial tone will be
interrupted by
the subhuman voice.
I can’t tell you exactly how many beeps it takes,
but somehow it’s always 1 and a half beeps
from when I realize you aren’t going to pick up the phone.

I don’t even remember what it felt like before the numbers on the clock
Now, I calculate time in dial tones and flat robotic monologs.
1 and a half before I realize you won’t pick up.
Hundreds before I try calling again.
Thousands until time is normal again,
And millions,
Until I see you again.