Calls

Ernesto Cardinal

Calls

You can take the call you’ve been waiting for.
The call that might tell you your number was the prize winner.
You answered the question on the radio. And you won
the sample jar of cream, the blender, you won
the trip to Hawaii.
But in spite of the blender that’s absolutely guaranteed
and the fantastic cream that makes your skin velvet-smooth
you commit suicide with barbiturates.
In spite of having won
or in spite of the radar
you board a Comet 4C
bound for Los Angeles, bound for Honolulu
which the RB-47 reconnaissance plane has since lost track of.
Or you keep waiting for a call that doesn’t come
waiting for the arrival of love in fresh makeup
and they did call you a long time ago
and got that wrong number. Or they are calling you on the phone
and calling and calling
and yes, that’s your number, but you’re not there
you’ve left home
and it’s the police to inform you
that your body has been identified at the station house.

tr. Jonathan Cohen