Voicemail to October

by Anneliese Schneider


It’s autumn, knocking on the back of my head. It’s everyone
Else with their faraway voices, talking to other
Faraway voices. No. Long-distance communication, and
The way their voices leak, leak, an accident in here and how.

Leaves wave-rolling in the wake of a truck, the detritus
Dances. I dance, just a little, nodding along to something
No one else can hear. No longer in use, the oak leaf wasting
Its lovely curving edges on the concrete. I sweep it from the
Bottom of my shoe. What is the word that escapes me? Or,

What was the secret? like the squirrel slow bouncing over
The dry grass, I make too much noise for this frame. Burying seeds
In the ground, forgetting where they are. What was it I was saying?

That I won’t be happy until the hills have set themselves on fire.
No, not until the scars on the back my hands heal, and I learn
How to say something about the water that the water hasn’t already said
For itself. Running, running, like my voice on its way back down my
Own throat. Stumbling over the little stone words clicking against

my teeth, like isomorphic and contention and like entativity, that
impossible condition of anything thing being the thing itself. It’s
the words I learned, that smooth edged pocketful I didn’t skip
out over the water. But remembered, like a person who keeps
their promises, like the laugh I used to laugh. Just for this, just now.


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