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Laundry Quarters

My brother drove his car barefoot
the dash strewn with empties
old cassettes     and maps to places
he never saw    the sharp bend
how the river leapt
 and no-one said suicide                     but if you’d picked up
 as I fumbled laundry quarters
 for the payphone
 I would’ve told you
 endings are brutal
metal on granite
barely time to reconsider
before the sun slips
and silence
 steals the color                                   so I let it ring     hung up
 when your wife answered
 my greyblue yearning
 through the dial tone
like childhood drives
from the old house       wrestling boredom
and tuna sandwiches
my little brother’s head in my lap
shoes off       sweaty palms on my jeans
wiping crumbs           confusion
when I woke him       relief when I whispered
we’re here, we’re here The rain tastes of gas
 when they haul his station wagon
 onto the bank   one headlight blinking
 wildly   I watch clouds destroy themselves
 listen to the hum of phone wires
 wait for you to answer  to whisper
 I’m here, I’m here


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