R. Nemo Hill / Patricia Wallace Jones

Um Português

(for Paulo)

That phone line is so old I rarely answer.
Retrieving messages is just routine:
my credit score, pitched sales, the march for cancer,
cheap satellite tv — a general theme.
I’ve been away. Press play, m-hmm, delete...
I’m caught off-guard — and smiling, raise my head.
I recognize your accent instantly,
and yet it isn’t you. It says, you’re dead.

The winter fog that rolled in from the coast
would swallow up that old stone house, and hold me
for days on end, alone. That haunts me most.
“You’ve such respect for silence — ” you once told me,
“ — you leave the room, and gently close the door.”
The ghost in my machine says nothing more.

R. Nemo Hill is the author of a novel, Pilgrim’s Feather (Quantuck Lane, 2003) a book-length poem, The Strange Music of Erich Zann (Hippocampus, 2004) and a chapbook, Prolegomena To An Essay on Satire (Modern Metrics, 2006). Recent work appears in Poetry and Smartish Pace.