The Strange Man, Me, and Spaghetti

He cooks spaghetti, as always while
the phone rings right after he puts a whole packet
into the pot and he knows just as
well that it must come from his wife but
fortunately not this time because
this time, it is me who is calling

He doesn’t know me at all but
he isn’t surprised nor disturbed because
he says:
“I like receiving phone calls from strange women, and
—————–I’m not disturbed right now,
—————–but please call me six minutes later, will you?”
“If you are not disturbed right now,
—————–why should I call you six minutes later?”
I take pleasure in asking these questions,
questions that concern six minutes, or perhaps
the multiplication of six minutes

“You are cooking now, aren’t you?”
I ask, not questions, not never.
“Oddly yes, how do you know that I’m cooking?”
“I just know, and I know that you just put a whole packet of
——————–spaghetti into the pot.”
He laughs, and I can hear his laughter
a long one followed by the light breathing sounds coming
from his chest, and water boiling
down in the worn-out silver pot

“You are not asking me to hang up, or to call you
——————–six minutes later?”
“I changed my mind, we can talk now.”
He catches me in the blue
and then I wonder, this time, a non-metaphorical question
“Your spaghetti is getting soft. Aren’t you worried?”
He laughs again, the same long laugh followed by
sounds of breathing, and that only…
I try my best to listen, to all that’s there
close and far from his chest
but none of the water boiling, nor the
spaghetti sliding into the burning pot

The fortune-teller once told me that I,
have a gypsy spirit that can take any
man on a space odyssey, and I take her
words seriously, so, this time, I decide
to let him go
No more questions, I say to him
No more questions, and he says to me –

The rest of the phone call, that day, puts me on a little boat in Venice,
Me stirs, and stirs with a giant ladle in the river
In the river swims a whole packet of spaghetti
Me checks the timer, as there is quite some time left
The six minutes, while my boatman checks on the spaghetti
He asks me:
“Is the whole packet perhaps too much for you?”
Me, smiles back at him, and waits, because I know that
him, is sitting on the other side of the bank, ink running out
at the moment, and me, dressed in the packet of spaghetti,
comes in and breaks
the single coarse paper layer, my door opened wide
and finally, both of us, drift on the surface
of the ink river, intertwined
with their every-second lengthening, softening limbs, multiplying,

So is our flesh, right now
then, how much is
left, from that six minutes?
He reads to me,
and I, listen only
to his chest turning the pages


Artwork by Becky Strange

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