POETRY
The Crazy Operator at the Switchboard
Joanne Ward
volume:  
volume 3
issue 1
Spring 1977

This must be a bee hive.

And we are all busy as bees

Filling the little black holes in the comb,

Buzzing, buzzing.

-

These cords extend from our backbones.

Current runs through our mouths.

Our fingers, open to the tips for information,

Operate, operate,

-

Touching a humming in the lines

After the words have been cut off,

Have vibrated out of the ears,

Bye-bye, bye-bye ...

-

Fluorescence shines down like grey,

Like the coming of a storm.

We plug the Centrex day after day

With numbers, numbers.

-

Headsets are burning out my ears

In this rarified air.

I’m eccentric at twenty-eight.

Buzz, buzz,

-

I want to sing a pure note over our heads,

To pull out all the cords

And whip them into a fine wind,

Into a flashing chorus of brass.

I want to answer the phone like a door

And say, “Come in, come in!”