OUT OF SERVICE
My telephone service provider texted the news
they will no longer offer directory assistance–
effective immediately–which seemed
much too abrupt for a loyal customer like me.
I can’t help but wonder if someone
was in the middle of a query
searching for Aunt Marge in Minnesota
to tell her Grandpa Joe passed away
the funeral scheduled for next Friday.
Did the caller hear all ten digits
or just the area code
as service was cut off?
It’s a big geography with millions of records
to sort. But we’ve all asked for help once
finding the right numbers to keep track
of Great Grandma’s dementia
hear about Mark’s first day of college
or the birth of Andrea’s new baby.
Though we sometimes found loved ones
when they seemed lost, or we were
and needed special assistance.
Direction came from a soothing voice
on the other end, like a mother
connecting us to our next kin
taking our hands–one finger at a time–
wrapping them tightly around the receiver
not wanting to let us go, to say goodbye
for the last time.
Alan Perry’s debut poetry chapbook, Clerk of the Dead, was released by Main Street Rag Publishing in 2020. His poems have appeared in Tahoma Literary Review, Open: Journal of Arts & Letters, Ocotillo Review, Remington Review, and elsewhere, and in several anthologies. He is a founder and Co-Managing Editor of RockPaperPoem, a Senior Poetry Editor for Typehouse Literary Magazine, and a Best of the Net nominee. Alan holds a BA in English from the University of Minnesota, and he and his wife divide their time between a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Tucson, Arizona. More at: https://alanperrypoetry.com