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The Extension

ISSUE:  Summer 1970

This dice-white Princess desk phone
Is a ghost, wearing a small bell
About its throat.

You hardly notice it,
It goes so well with my décor—though
The silence is a shade too glacial.

Often, with no one in particular to call,
Just for the hell of it, I pick up
The receiver: plastic, weight-

less Almost, as a baby’s
Bone. The dial-tone
Leaps across the charged darkness and I know

Somewhere in the humming numberless
Brain of the telephone exchange
My number is up. Unless

I hang up or dial
Another number, I exist
No more. I try the President’s;

But when I say, “This call is sent
From the Spirit World,” the operator
Tells me to buzz off. Later,

As I refuse to pay for a person-
to-person Call that didn’t go through,
My name is removed from the directory.


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