January 1998 / Volume One / Issue One
Matt Boettner
$900 and $30.64

Every once in awhile she'll call,
not to complain, not to bitch
or laugh at me, but just to say
"Hi."
and this is sort of nice in a way
because of all the shit between us,
to drop it all gives us a chance to
breathe: a truce; armistice.
So we say hi and all the dribble that
goes along with it.
Then there is silence.
I know there is the inevitable question
of money-- I feel it coming
through the air, along the wire and
into my ear
but she's waiting, waiting for the right
amount of silence to go by; for enough
courage, to make sure her voice won't
waver,
praying I won't explode with anger
and hang up the phone.
Finally, it comes.
      It seems she's busted the refrigerator
      put an ice pick through the coil
      and the landlord is screaming
      and could I please send some money
      for a new one.
We have a special kind of relationship.
It's called "I owe her money."
I try to send it regularly but it's been
two months now since the last check
and she can't pay the rent, or the bills
or for a new refrigerator
and so she calls.       I suppose
that when we are finished,
when I'm through and given all the money back,
she will stop calling.
Yes, she will probably stop calling me
and there will be no word for years.
Return to January 1998