Saturday, February 05, 2005

For Daniel and Serge

Sunday snow falls in the Carolinas,
on a cold silent morning.
Barely out of my bed,
I anticipate the warmth of strong coffee,
and the summoning of my dormant senses.
The phone rings, piercing the silence,
like tones of a wind chime
borne on cold air through woodlands,
so quiet otherwise
that one could hear the snowflakes
as they touch down.

I, not yet awake, grasp the receiver.
"Hello," I say.
"Allô...Ron?"
"Oui,"
I squeeze out tentatively,
not knowing to whom I speak
and not expecting to need my French
on a snowy Carolina Sunday morning.

"Qui est-ce?" I ask.
"C'est Serge...Ecoute.
Daniel nous a quitté."


I think to myself
that this is strange.
Serge calls to tell me
that Daniel has left.
I think of lover’s quarrels,
and wonder why Serge would bother
calling from Brussels with such news.

"Quand?"
"When?" I ask.
"Vendredi."
Still confused, I ask how he left.

"A l'hôpital."

"Oh, Serge…
Je suis désolé."

So very sorry,
I now understand that Daniel has died.
"From what?" I ask.
"Comme toi" I hear Serge say.
"AIDS?" I ask. "SIDA?"
"Oui...
I must go.
He would have wanted you to know."

"And you?" I ask.
"I am fine, but must go.
Bye."

Click.


A        dial             tone
signals the end
of conversation
as the snow outside
continues to fall
with reverent quietness
.


Copyright 2004 by Ron Hudson. Previously appeared in Roger Hume's Other Voice Poetry International, vol. 5.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

this doesn't stop touching me whenever i read it.
i think it's because one is left with that silence and the finiteness... or maybe the infinity. there's really nothing one could comment or ask. there's just an emotion you can't even grasp.


~susan

2/06/2005 08:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the same reaction, Susan, as if I had not been there during the actual phone call. When I read this poem, it moves me to tears, maybe because the entire event took less than 30 seconds, maybe because the implications of the event are ongoing or maybe because I miss my friend.

Ron

2/06/2005 10:17:00 PM  

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