The voice on the other line is a recording.
It’s a voice of exile. It sounds like closed curtains.
It’s a death sentence hello. And I wonder
what it would feel like to be greeted by a human
who would ask me how my children are
and if I saw the Pistons game on TV last night.
I say no into the phone, but the machine voice tells me
that it did not understand what I said. It asks me again
if I am suicidal. I yell no into the phone and the machine
tells me it did not understand what I said. It asks me again
if I’m suicidal and I scream over the soft hum of my refrigerator
that I am hoping I will live another twenty or thirty years
and after that I’ll reconsider things. The machine tells me
it is forwarding me to another machine. It goes on like this
~ Ron Riekki
Ron Riekki‘s books include ‘U.P.: a novel’, ‘The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works’ (2014 Michigan Notable Book), and ‘Here: Women Writing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula’.