he calls three times
each rings through to the machine
where i have to first withstand a tinny version of myself
then his clucking tones
pick up, pick up, pickup
i don’t answer until the last time
when instead he begins with this –

Among twenty snowy mountains

i make him say the whole piece
afterward we talk for awhile about recent regrettable events
and we both agree that we’re responsible for ourselves in every moment
that you pay for your own fuck-ups
that one way or another we’ll make it through
we’ve both had too much to drink
i don’t think either one of us feels any better
this time we exchange i love yous
and i end up feeling stunned at the span of the week
without direction
i’m going outside to smoke a cigarette


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