The Rusty Toque | Issue 10 | Poetry | June 30, 2016
From a frozen mud lot at the subdivision's
edge, I spy your Windstar in the road bend.
End of her night shift, your mom sips a soft drink
as I crack sheets of white, sing along
to the Top Nine with Casey, leashed and looking
for information. Entrusted at fourteen
with the ritual of climbing porch steps,
I stuff creaky brass boxes with coupons
and gossip, save Christmas card cash
in my sock drawer for caf fries and weed.
Wind stings my toes numb.
The carrier bag digs.
At your door, I fumble a delivery list,
thumb your bell and consider ringing.
Operator, connect my out-of-quarters-
need-a-ride-home-from-the-mall collect call.
Forecast the cloud atlas, orate the August
blockbusters. Connect me with one pre-dawn
olive-only pizza – would you be so kind?
And do you have a number for Aurora Ogilvy,
my grade eight crush? Connect my hand
to hers that awkward night we watched
The Mask but did not kiss. Our parents
are finally out of town. Eighteen years later
I still ponder this: could we have raised
no children in Orillia? Operator? Open up.
What’s your real name? Screw 411.
Our information should be free.
Now that the payphones are uprooted
what do we do with all these quarters?
Operator? Connect four friends from all those
years ago. Admit we’re all just area codes
and seven random digits. I’ve lost them all,
but I'm your zero. There's no connection.
Please hang up and try your call again.
DAVID ALEXANDER is the author of the chapbooks Chicken Scratch from Puddles of Sky Press (2014) and Modern Warfare from Anstruther Press (2016). Recent poems have appeared in The Malahat Review, CV2, The Puritan, The Steel Chisel, and Poetry is Dead. His second-prize-winning poem for the 2015 Banff Centre Bliss Carman Poetry Award is forthcoming in Prairie Fire. He lives in Toronto.