Playing the Telephone Game Esther Lee

Playing the Telephone Game

Esther Lee


For instance, you might have said:

When he was leaving the store,

it was starting to rain.


Winnie was a sleeve torn.

It was darting1 derange2.

You might have taken (one can

play detective endlessly),

a ream of paper and traced

intricate scalloped designs

of the living room's

silver radiator3, or the young man,

towns away, his face blind-

embossed beneath the narrative4

we won't let go of.

Was it:

The grass nodded

beneath the dance.


Wrists knotted

these knees and pants.

Or, perhaps:

Zebras snotted

bereaved5 of ants.

No, knocking on wood won't

change what happens next.

Little yellow flags marking

their dancing footsteps—

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 is where

his body was found.

Nevermind headphones,

can of iced tea, lighter6,

scratched cell phone,

or three-leaf clover

wanting to turn four.

You might have thought:

He was wearing a red sweater.

He's swearing ahead weather.

He is airing a head feather.

He was erring7 hat fodder8.

His hearing a hard father.

Is searing an old water.

Adhere a worn blotter.

A year in hot falter9.

Here in what order.

Earring10 voiceover.

Herring half over.

Arrow October.

Heroine sober.

Rigged clover.

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