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Answering Machine
Pat Boran


A flashing light will mean Iím not alone.
A moment later maybe Iíll hear your voice,
or that of a stranger, or the sound
of someone somewhere having second thoughts

and hanging up. But at least Iíll 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 youíve 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 authorís permission.

Pat Boran is a poet, author of fiction and nonfiction, publisher, and radio broadcaster. Born in Portlaoise, Ireland in 1963, he currently lives in Dublin where he works as an editor and broadcaster. His most recent book is Waveforms: Bull Island Haiku. Learn more about him at



Post New Comment:
I like how the author takes us on a ride from whimsy to heavy like a rollercoaster!
Posted 08/22/2014 10:15 PM
What a good poem. Something we can all equate to. I feel that is what poetry is all about.
Posted 08/22/2014 03:51 AM
well done, great twist.
Posted 08/21/2014 11:12 PM

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