Local Call

By Carolyn Beard Whitlow

You handle me like I'm a local call.
I'm expensive. Long distance although
having never been loved I don't know how

to tell you so. So I answer the phone,
anticipate its diamond ring and let
you handle me like I'm a local call,

your line old as an old simile, stale
as a dead metaphor, you who's always had,
having. Never been loved, I don't know how

not to wish you would not stop stop not
loving me, the sidewalk running past me,
you handle me like I'm a local, call,

laugh in another language, hung phone screaming,
me unsure whether my anger volcano or match
I don't know, having never been loved, how

to love, my mind stalled with graffiti,
imagination sore, hum "Don’t want nobody
don’t want me," accept your local call,
having never been loved, knowing I don’t know how.