The Other End

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We watched as the words he heard
Washed his face anew, for room
For sadness and regret and loss
To carve fresh wrinkles, to make him new.
We listened as he called her name,
Once, twice, again.
We listened as he paused to listen
To the other end.

We kept chomping on
Our bowls of under-cooked rice
Like cows on their cud.
We didn’t stop,
We thought we were being sensitive---
In truth
We knew not what
To do
Or say
Or ask
Or plead
To mend his broken heart.

Each heart is broken, chipped and chewed,
By time and demand and deep, deep pain---
But this one, for himself he found he had to fend
As we watched silently, still chewing---
As he listened to
The other end.





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