This poem describes something that really happened. I think it was the summer of 2005, when I was still working in Twinsburg, Ohio. Sometimes I would leave an hour early to go get a haircut. I didn't do that very often, but maybe once every four months I'd take an hour of PTO and just go do it while the place was quiet. It was probably a "Great Clips" or whatever they're called. I remember the feeling of shock and surprise. The way the numbers bubbled up from nowhere. I came away with the very strong knowledge that there is an ocean beneath the surface of us all. Sometimes the secret currents will throw something up that is completely unexpected. Whether or not one should take meaning from such incidents, I can't say.
Here's the poem.
Eight Six One...
In line at the hairdresser
A cheap salon, one of a chain
Waiting for a trim
Bored, the girl asks me for my phone number
To feed the hungry computer.
I rattle off six numbers,
From deep inside.
She blinks and answers.
"That's not enough numbers," she says.
I'm surprised, too.
I realize that I didn't give an American answer but one from long ago, another country
Another decade, another life.
Not even my own phone number but one I rang much more often.
It's her number, the English girl
Born in the Broughshane countryside.
Over a dozen years
Since seen or heard
Still, her number lingers
I can still tap it into a phone
In less than a second.
A useless waltz.