Holly Day: “Late Night”

Late Night
Sometimes I miss the mystery of the late night phone call from a random stranger
the ridiculous panting of a chronic masturbator, the lonely man or woman
randomly punching numbers into their telephone, trying to make some connection
reaching out into the dark over and over again until they find someone
with the time or curiosity to respond.
When I was a teenager, I used to jump to answer those late night calls
before they woke my parents up, would whisper into the phone to these strangers
patiently quiet as they said dirty things to me, try to guide them into proper conversations
because I was lonely, too. Eventually, I could steer a conversation away
from promises of butthole-licking and finger-fucking
to conversations about what I liked to do, what I thought of my parents
what I thought of school. I’d read poems over the phone to them
if they stayed on the line long enough, ask their opinion, tell them I was trying real hard
I didn’t have a lot of people in my life who liked poetry.
Sometimes, when the phone rings, and I don’t recognize the number
I pick it up anyway because I’m curious. But now, it’s never anyone making fuck-noises
into their end of the line, or someone wondering what I’m doing, what I’m wearing,
what I like to do, it’s always someone trying to sell me something
or alert me to hail damage in my neighborhood, or ask for a donation
it’s never anyone particularly fun.


Holly Day (hollylday.blogspot.com) has been a writing instructor at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Grain, and Harvard Review, and her newest poetry collections are Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing), The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body (Anaphora Literary Press), and Book of Beasts (Weasel Press).

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