Let Me Know if You Can Hear This

A girl cries into her mobile, bites 
the ends of her scarf. She says
her heart feels like it's going
to burst. Are you there?
Are you there? On an island
in Japan, or in a town I can't
remember, someone has put up
a booth from which to call
the dead. Hundreds have made
this pilgrimage to pick up
the receiver and speak into it
or sing, while crows roost on its
little roof, while rain or hail
drums on the glass. Do you
like flowers? There are flowers.
And a shot glass where someone
once poured a drink; a dog-eared
novel, an unused airline ticket.
A man sits on a bench under
the corner streetlight. He
is waiting for the bus, or
he will spend the night there
in his thin coat unless
the storekeeper and his wife
take him in. Does he ever feel
like his heart is going to burst?
Maybe his heart burst long ago.
Maybe there is only before
and after the heart burst.
Where it actually burst, a page
was added to the telephone
directory; a loaf of bread
disappeared from the shelf.

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