A flashing light will mean I’m not alone.
A moment later maybe I’ll hear your voice,
or that of a stranger, or the sound
of someone somewhere having second thoughts
and hanging up. But at least I’ll know it means
that someone thinks about me, now and then,
and whoever they prove or do not prove to be,
at least there is a sort of consolation
in the fact that they send a gift of light,
a sign to welcome me on my return.
You are not alone, it will say, first thing,
the green light of the answering machine.
Or else: how desperate you’ve become
for love, the glimmer of surprise,
alone there in the doorway of your room
like a man before an endless, starless sky.
From The Shape of Water, (Dedalus Press, 1996)
Used with the author’s permission.