Saturday in CinCity

Phone Therapy

by Ellen Bass

I was relief, once, for a doctor on vacation

and got a call from a man on a window sill.

This was New York, a dozen stories up.

He was going to kill himself, he said.

I said everything I could think of.

And when nothing worked, when the guy

was still determined to slide out that window

and smash his delicate skull

on the indifferent sidewalk, "Do you think,"

I asked, "you could just postpone it

until Monday, when Dr. Lewis gets back?"

The cord that connected us—strung

under the dirty streets, the pizza parlors, taxis,

women in sneakers carrying their high heels,

drunks lying in piss—that thick coiled wire

waited for the waves of sound.

In the silence I could feel the air slip

in and out of his lungs and the moment

when the motion reversed, like a goldfish

making the turn at the glass end of its tank.

I matched my breath to his, slid

into the water and swam with him.

"Okay," he agreed.

please note: photo by Alejandro Cerutti


  1. Oh, so very clever...Like pulling a rabbit out of the hat.

  2. If only it were always that simple... just postpone it... great advice though.

  3. As always, love your poetry picks!


Post a Comment

Hey, thanks for your thoughts and your time:>)

Popular posts from this blog

Saturday in CinCity. The CollegeGrrrl Guest Writer Edition.

Sunday in CinCity. The "Three Things I Know About Life...It Goes On" Edition

A Year with EB White