April 21, 2007

Kim Addonizio: “The Call”

Posted in Poetry at 8:18 pm by The Lizard Queen

The Call

A man opens a magazine,
women with no clothes,
their eyes blacked out.
He dials a number,
hums a commercial
under his breath. A voice
tells him he can do
anything he wants to her.
He imagines standing her
against a wall, her saying
Oh baby you feel so good.
It’s late. The woman
on the phone yawns,
trails the cord to the hall
to look in on her daughter.
She’s curled with one
leg off the couch.
The woman shoulders the receiver,
tucks a sheet and whispers
Yes, do it, yes.
She drifts to the kitchen,
opens another Diet Pepsi, wonders
how long it will take him and where
she can find a cheap winter coat.
Remembering the bills,
she flips off the light.
He’s still saying Soon,
turning his wheelchair right,
left, right. A tube runs down
his pants leg. Sometimes
he thinks he feels something,
stops talking to concentrate
on movement down there.
Hello, the woman says.
You still on?
She rubs a hand over her eyes.
Blue shadow comes off on her fingers.
Over the faint high hiss
of the open line
she hears the wheels knock
from table to wall.
What’s that, she says.
Nothing, he tells her,
and they both
listen to it.

–Kim Addonizio, 1994



  1. DavidD said,

    We all do what we have to do, lie, cheat, steal, whatever. We all get to decide if that’s the best we can do. I don’t want to trade places with anyone I help so I could do that for them. I don’t know that I could do any better not only in his or her shoes, but in his or her mind, spirit, and life.

    I wish there were an easy way to get across to those who would make choices for everyone else why people need to make choices for themselves, why people see the choices others prescribe as unacceptable, such as being honest about what one is really up to during phone sex or other things that matter a lot more. People do what they know to do, what they’re willing to do, and what gives them hope or at least momentary endurance. I even understand Rush Limbaugh that way, though I know Rush could do better if he wanted to. For many other people it’s hard to know.

  2. luaphacim said,


    Such a heartbreaking, wonderful poem. It makes me think of my little brother, who won’t walk again. And myself.

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