Like so much else
Over the years, numbers change.
You can’t reach me with the same four
I can’t reach you with the full ten.
Obsolete, like our employee numbers,
We must accept that numbers change
Their meaning, value, and order change.
Thus those at the bottom are first to go.
And since numbers, to the CEO, require an axe
We knew few would survive the off-shoring.
We packed in distress
Little boxes with pictures, mugs and calendars
Thinking of life’s, and of time’s, obscurity.
In our stead, an appalling recording
Fronts our world like a closed door that
— Knock till your knuckles bleed —
Returns no lovingkindess.
Your voice, as your old e-mails load, comes back
And I hear you talk up the game of chance
Seeing, in shrinkage and severance, opportunity
Opportunities to get off the grid
Embrace your mountain man roots and
On the Labradorian coast, lease that old whaling station
To heal both man and land after years of slaughter;
But ever the enigma, promising, too, to unleash the
Hungry lion, on any minx arriving at the door.
You saw a new life open, I saw the end of an empire —
A small one, whose demise rivals that of the Ottomans.
How I wish your voice could welcome me again, and
That, folded up in it, I, like your tales of Scotland
Would sparkle with history, pride, and love.
I call your number often in dreams
And from your remote abode you say, “Hiya, Milk!”
And we rebuild.