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by Robert Burr

When the phone clicks down after your call
and the wind picks up, shaking my window,
I hear you and your forgetting, talking, weeping

beyond the construct of a distanced family,
the corners of "Stonehenge," our home, extending
into the present, toward what's ahead.

I hear you gathering the words you know-
the best ones-to say what you're saying,
with others still there but misplaced

among your rubber-banded papers perhaps,
and now you're telling your crazy neighbor
how they are lost, and where they might be,

were their order established, and only
if they were among the more recent packets
of words that you've labeled "Yes, keep these"

or "doctor" or "children" or "do these
phone numbers still work?" In your search
I hear "Sanci," "Ward-O," and "Leese" and "Molly."

Yes, Molly, your friend and employee, whom you taught
to edit before and after the FBI came in
one day to ask about her, and you

harangued them down the stairs and out the door
and told them they had no right at all
to be in your building, and they'd walked off in haste.

When the phone clicks down after your call
and the mind's caught up in shaping your sorrow,
I hear you in your forgetting, winding and cutting

the miles of footage of a forsaken filmwork
shot in Woodrow Wilson's first private theater,
where three floors below you'd locked in Andy Warhol-

whom, before he made soup cans, you'd picked from a file-
and made him finish those drawings he promised.
When the phone clicks down, you'll find me, too,

caught in those eddies of forgetting, amazed at just how
you'd refused, violently, to join the town pool,
keeping us near you, wanting us to feel

just how it hurt to be Negro or Jewish; we
actually thought we knew, just like that,
overnight, and felt moved by such knowing.

Yet, as a template for mothers, you'd failed
you thought and thought, and forever will think
when the phone clicks down after your call.

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