Rain like a phone message;
pulsing, just out of view.
A female voice fills the house,
pours in and around the corners
filling the darkest parts
under the bed, behind the couch.
It’s not a voice I recognize,
not one I’ve spent time with.
I try and picture, in my mind
what this voice’s lips look like,
working together with tongue and teeth,
pushing words through my phone and under my bed.
“This is All Creatures Vet,” she is saying.
“Carl Winslow is due for his checkup.”
I look over at the cat who’s perched
on the back of the couch.
He stares back at me knowingly,
twitching an ear in faux-nonchalance.
We’re quiet for a while, me and Carl,
and the plastic phone, and the rain.
Stuck lamenting the green walls and grey floors
that match milk-tainted cups of day-old coffee.
stop-watch afternoons yellow in demeanor,
carefully asking unimportant questions
about an unclosed tag or a bad idea,
or a looming deadline. Another near-miss.
And it’s enough to drive you to drink, or at least to the library,
where you’re asking the spectacled, sex demon, librarian at the counter
her thoughts on missed deadlines. And she laughs,
telling you she’s be unemployed without them.