• Keith Banner

Wrong Number

wrong number

but there's quince jam

but there's apricot and strawberry


he didn't want to see them

anyway; he

only wanted to know

it was worth it

hidden away

behind bath-towels

inside a potted plant

inside a fitted sheet

his face to his mother

was a christmas wreath; to his

father a stern kernel of popcorn

it's all what we want to see


never what it is

they took 10 jars of jam

to the psychiatric facility

and he had tried to kill himself

there, their only son,

perfectly fine now but solidly asleep,

but they were not

about to leave all

that jam for him,

no way

the nurses would eat it

the orderlies


so they take it home

his mother and his father

and then the phone rings

wrong number


the father feels

the jam's midnight presence

in a corner

those luminous colors




it is all sugar and it is all


the world

is a color

you need the world is

just a jar

(after "Signs and Symbols" by Vladimir Nabokov)

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