On the other end of the phone I keep putting down to look for the refrigerator magnet, you are asking the same question again and again. Nothing is working out. The comedian cracks another joke and a hundred cartoon mouths fill the screen, gnawing stupidly at my reflection. I put my finger on your face, my face, the pizza delivery number, the quotable quote, the postcard from the museum. I scratch the surface, fish out the fake flowers. I want to dream you alive, I say. I have no other answer.
Your letters on the dinner table, complacent as facts.
Your voice on the machine, fairly believable.
The spines you read like horoscopes, the headlines you ignore.
Your token questions about our mothers.
Your left-handed preoccupations.