I Could Be Somebody Who Somebody Could Call On

I know what it means to feel sorry

I’ve been sorry

said it

seen my sorry declined

I’ve regretted

my wording

my relative position

& how I’ve spent my time

I’m estranged from getting

though surely deserving of what I will eventually get

have gotten

I’ve gotten under someone’s skin

been lost inside somebody

I shouldn’t have been

I’ve found love & lost it

nobody should give me credit I don’t deserve

here’s the scene: you’re in the deep green

anamnesis of your youth

the vines wrap around the window awnings

of old downtown buildings

fashioned from mossy character stones

in the forest beside the cul-de-sac

where you know the names of all the dogs who bark

& boys twine your hair through the slits in their fists

& you think about them every time you hear a train in the distance

because the carnal chug of the railway behind their knees

as you kneel

is the most romantic thing

that has ever happened in your whole life

& spring is the perfect season

& maybe if you’re lucky they will call you

& years later they call you when their wives are sleeping

& your heart stands still

& you can be sorry without being sorry

because the greatest feeling you’ve ever felt is both a thanks

& an apology & it’s there for only you

you are the curve that makes the line a circle

& you’re just laying on your couch

with your music playing in the other room

all your roommates are sleeping

& the moon is loud through your curtains & the ocean

doesn’t know you are here with the phone

the hand-me-down lamp on the night stand

& the chipped paint on the wall & this is forever

this is not very long at all

but it is everything

& everything is that small

I haven’t come to lie

I’ve found love & lost it

it soaks me up

I could be the person someone’s heard is back in town

I could

be the person they keep losing & finding again

I been around

I never stop leaving or arriving

I am often trainlike

I could be somebody’s body

if they’d let me sometime maybe

I may be

just the person they’ve been reaching for

at 3 am when the chat group’s dead

& all the world’s hiding in the back of their heads

I don’t know who these voices are attached to

maybe they don’t mean anything

they could mean something

I could be somebody

who somebody could call on

if it’s late & they’re foregone

it could be the most romantic thing that has ever happened

Author’s Bio

Julie Mannell was the guest lecturer at the University of Nebraska’s MFA program and a Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence. In 2018 she was shortlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize. Her MFA was completed in Toronto where she was the HarperCollins scholarship recipient. In the past, In/Words Magazine named her as one of the Top 30 Poets Under 30 and her work was awarded the Lionel Shapiro Award for Excellency in Creative Writing and the Mona Adilman Poetry Prize.