our tender overlapping has been taking place only inside me

The Breather
Billy Collins

Just as in the horror movies
when someone discovers that the phone calls
are coming from inside the house

so too, I realized
that our tender overlapping
has been taking place only inside me.

All that sweetness, the love and desire—
it’s just been me dialing myself
then following the ringing to another room

to find no one on the line,
well, sometimes a little breathing
but more often than not, nothing.

To think that all this time—
which would include the boat rides,
the airport embraces, and all the drinks—

it’s been only me and the two telephones,
the one on the wall in the kitchen
and the extension in the darkened guest room upstairs.

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