the last phone call

K. Latuconsina
2 min readFeb 22, 2024

On the line,

you share with me that he reached out —

a distant memory you hesitate to label an ex-lover.

In the background, an aging television set

whirrs softly, as you teeter on the verge

of speaking your thoughts, then hold back.

You haven’t seen your mother

in seven months, but I refrain from probing.

Questions with answers already known

have ceased to be questions.

Your boss appears unfazed by

the shadows beneath your eyes,

and your colleague at the office,

the one seated next to you,

has taken to drinking more and more.

Sometimes, the only way to endure

is to fade without truly fading.

You inform me that you’ve taken to reading newspapers.

The newspaper vendor greets you

with a smile each morning when you rise early.

There’s an inexplicable warmth in people

before we truly get to know them, you remark.

I wish to inquire about us,

yet I don’t want it to seem self-centered.

However, there’s a noticeable distance

in your voice that I’ve never before detected.

How can we convey to someone

that we’re burning for them,

without displaying the ashes?

Your father has phoned me twice this week,

only to disclose that he’s no longer with your mother.

I remember standing outside your door,

hesitant to knock, as your laughter

resonated from within his embrace.

That evening, you called me,

sharing how his name tasted like snow on your tongue.

I heard you melting.

I heard your voice, as if it were my own requiem.

Friendship can be a curse when only one friend

remains within its confines.

I linger on the other end of this phone call,

burning like a cathedral,

while you continue to ring out

like a rescue bell tolling his name.

I haven’t heard your voice for years,

now that you don’t utter my name so frequently.

There are no words in the commercial on your television,

much like the ones that escape my tongue.

“Hey? Are you there?” you inquire.

“Always. I’ve always been,” I reply with a smile.

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