portion of the artwork for Elizabeth P. Glixman's poetry

It’s Me—Rachel
Elizabeth P. Glixman

The phone rings
It’s Rachel again
with her voice that sparkles
like blue mouthwash
She could tell you anything
She could be the news anchor
telling you about a mass killing
say it with her white bright teeth showing
the edges of her lips curved upward
Her voice could give Chris Matthews’ leg
a tingle.

I’ve told Rachel not to call
She doesn’t seem to hear me
I yell my message at her
as I was told to do in my
Better Communication With Others
(Humans or Robots) class.

At least once a month she tells me
my mortgage payments are late
If you don’t want to lose your home
end up at a shelter
Press 1
(she says in that smiley voice of hers)
If you don’t want to receive any more calls
Press 2 but
remember the homeless thing
She never says homeless
but I hear it with the same certainty I have
when I am brushing my teeth and need to spit.

I’ve hung up on Rachel many times
Today I didn’t hang up
I pressed 1
A man answered
I said, where’s Rachel?
He didn’t answer
I told him if he didn’t get me Rachel
I would report him to the Federal Trade Commission.

I wonder will I ever get the chance to talk to Rachel
I’d like to ask her
if she thinks of meeting the people she calls
to have a cup of tea coffee
a beer with them or
does she ever think about getting another job
working for a toothpaste company
an orthodontist
making cold calls
to find people willing to help a poor Nigerian man
whose whole family was murdered
by aliens from outer space?

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 42 | Fall 2013