Ode to Texting

By Susan Blackwell Ramsey

Featured art: Gray landline telephone on a wooden wall by Markus Spiske

needle so fine
you penetrate even
the defensive hide
of sons,
excite reply.

In yourself
language gnat,
but driving
distracted herds
over death cliffs.

The phone call
is a drunk uncle
barging in,
to slump
on the sofa,

and even e-mail
is a volume
of Trollope
for an elevator ride, while you
are a wife’s light hand
on the sleeve
two words
barely suspending
the conversation.

My children mock
me as I poke
with tentative
to insert
while burly fullbacks
with thumbs like Virginia hams
thump out their love
in monosyllables.

And while you
can be as maddening
as the two-year-old
next door when
she sees me peaceful
in the garden,
calling to me
over and over
and over,
so excited
to be able
to connect with words,
I forgive you
because you are
so new
so small.

Susan Blackwell Ramsey’s work has appeared recently in The Southern Review, Ecotone, and 32 Poems; her book, A Mind Like This, won the Prairie Schooner Poetry Book Prize. She lives in Kalamazoo.

Originally published in NOR 22.

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