I Am Calling You from a Distance

For years I rarely thought of you
until someone would ask
Do you have any sisters?
And I would pause
having to place you
before I could speak

And then I would recall
how as young girls we vowed
to never, ever marry
but grow old together

I do not even know where you live

Tonight I fold
and unfold the letter in my hands
making the creases sharper
until they soften and tear
A friend writes that he has seen you
on a street in New York

Noonday, you all in tattered black
white face, red lips held tight
the veil of your hat the only thing moving
as you wait for the light to change

People draw aside
to get a better look at you
An oddity even there
An exquisite bag lady
with nothing in your hands

The operator connects me
to the first of many LA Anthonys
(Is that still your name?)
It takes seven rings
for a woman's voice to answer

Hello. Is that you?

Valerie Anthony
Contents | Mudlark No. 1
Bury the Dead | When Life Shifts and You Tread Air