Is Anyone There?
by Claire Scott

Do you remember
sleeping on scraps of blankets in kindergarten
of course you don't, schools stopped naps years ago
faking sleep while worried about what Emily said
             no one will come to your birthday
I rolled the words around my mouth like sourballs
             who cares about Emily anyway
I chewed the sourballs and dreamt of twenty kids in party hats
only six kids came      my uncle took me to the barn
are you listening?

Do you know
I live with a grey-green parrot who screeches and squawks
               hello hello!      hello hello!
while I sip my lemon tea and thumb through Suddenly Psychic
the bird is a shaman and guides me on spirit journeys
to other universes where there are no uncles, only sweet aunts
with trinkets in their purses

Don't leave
I worry about how many will come
to my funeral, maybe an estranged sister or two and
the lady next door who steals my mail and lets
her dog poop on my lawn, and for sure my sons,
if they are speaking to me after spending their college money
in Peru, stoned on ayahuasca, hallucinating serpents and werewolves
and wandering hands

When it's time
would you be sure to step outside and invite the man selling single
cigarettes, the woman sleeping on the sidewalk, the police
officer with dreads, the Uber driver from Kazakhstan,
the boy on a bike, shirt tail flying and the little girl
in a pink dress and party hat, tears streaming
I hope more than six people will come
hello hello       are you there?


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