April 17, 2009


i) Last time

Last time you called
I turned the other side.
Shut the door
then walked downstairs.
After four steps
I ran back
but the ringing had stopped.

Last time you called
I watched the phone stir.
Let the sound
rip through air.
After four breaths
I touched the receiver
and sighed.

Last time you called
I bit my fingernails.
Shut my ears
then felt wet cheeks
after four tears
had dripped on the wire.
I froze.

Last time you called
I waited by the phone.
Let it ring.
Picked it up.
After four 'Hi's'
I heard you ask why,
and I lied.

ii) This time

This time I promise
to allow you space for drinking
give you time for gambling
let you do the grumbling
leave you to your snoring.

This time I vow
to leave your clothes scattered
push up the toilet seat
never change your toothbrush
sniffle only when you sleep.

This time I swear
to stay away from office
wait for you to call me
watch you golf from distance
hear you sigh responseless

This time I will not
fall like a fool
be broken to smithereens
lie smashed like a banana skin
stare hopeless at the cracking wall.

This time
I guess
will not come.

(c) Charlene Rajendran 1999

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