Somebody out there is trying to reach me.
Person or persons unknown are sending me
endless coded messages every morning.
You know who you are. I hear you. Every
morning, or sometimes late at night,
I hear you; I’m receiving you clearly.
I get about a billion words a day.
Is that all you’ve got? Is that all you’re
putting out, or am I missing something?
Thanks for keeping in touch, keeping me
tethered. I’d be lost without you.

Thanks for your cancerous doctor update,
your spring in Singapore, the way the palm fronds
batter each other, not like the soft whisper
of aspens in Aspen in August. Thanks for
finally burying your dog in the back yard
and really meaning it. Thanks, especially,
for reminding me how I left you or you left me
because, well, what else could we do?
I don’t know, really. Thanks for
helping me figure things out.

And thanks for the TV gossip updates,
the cogent political analysis, the story about
how your mother kept every Pringles can
she ever emptied under her sink, leaving you
to find them there after she died
and wonder what the hell she was thinking.
Thanks for sending those naked pictures.
Is that you, or one of your girlfriends?
And who’s the guy? Please write again soon;
I need to know.

Thanks for giving me something to
think about, something to talk about when,
as usual, I’m at a loss for words in a crowd or,
just as likely, at home alone. Thanks for
keeping me company all these years,
even though I thought I made it clear
that I’m not buying anything. Still, thanks
for the reminders about the ready availability
of male enhancement, hard times ahead,
why I need a good backup Bible, and
how to penetrate the tough publishing market.
Thanks. Thanks, but no. Really.

Finally, just let me say thanks for each and
every keystroke you’ve ever made
with only me in mind. Thanks for each
and every pixel, each of those blessed images
that come floating across the void to me,
and every syllable of that untranslatable verse
you write and send to me here, sitting, waiting
to receive. Thank you, whoever you are. Thanks.

Since You’ve Been Gone

After a couple weeks on the new job, he goes out on a Saturday morning and stops by the recycling center to visit one of his former clients, who talks to him like he’d never left, tells him about the med changes, tells him that he’s still hoping to join the gym, still hoping to visit his brother in New Jersey, even though the brother has never returned his calls, even though no one’s helping him make plans for the trip or hire a traveling companion.

He starts to tell his former client all about his new job, but the client doesn’t seem to acknowledge that he’s been gone for a while now, and even asks him when he’s coming by for his next home visit or if he’ll be seeing him at the Drop-In Center on Wednesday before Men’s Group. 

Later, after coffee, alone, he thinks about dropping in on another former client at his home, but recognizes his own pathetic dependency, decides instead to let the past be past and drives home slowly, noticing the increasingly overcast sky and the first of the changing leaves.  


One Door Closes—Career Change Ahead


Two days short of my 10th anniversary at Northeast Kingdom Human Services, I’m heading back to the classroom on Monday.



However you earn your daily bread, be sure to visit Call Me Cate at SHOW MY FACE