Phones were ringing
in the pockets of the living
and the dead
the living stepped carefully among.
The whole still room
was lit with sound—like a switchboard—
and those who could answer
said hello. Then
it was just the dead, the living
trapped inside their bloody clothes
ringing and ringing them—
and this was
the best image we had
of what made us a nation.
Copyright © 2017 by Wayne Miller. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 9, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.