The Caller

December 27, 2018

I was twelve when the first call came –
no sisters, an all-boys school, a mother

strung out on a horrible clothesline.
It was a wrong number, but the female voice

kept asking questions: do you play sports…
wear a jock strap…what’s your cock like…

are you touching it now? And just like that
I was hooked, or rather she grabbed

a hook already in me and tugged
me up and down the walls of puberty.

Each week for six years she called
with stories of whacking off married men

on commuter trains, beneath the leather
jacket she draped on their laps.

It was as if she climbed from the pages
of the porno book stashed under my bed

just to whisper I want to fuck you
in a room full of blind people, in the back seat

of a cop car during a high speed chase.
High school girls couldn’t compete

with her narcotic whimpers, as she dipped
the phone to her vibrator’s chain saw.

Ten years later, walking up 18th Street,
I realise there’s something incredibly

honest about trees in winter, how
they’re experts at letting things go.

Jeffery McDaniel


December 9, 2018

Just imagine living in a world without mirrors. You’d dream about your face and imagine it as an outer reflection of what is inside you. And then, when you reached forty, someone put a mirror before you for the first time in your life. Imagine your fright! You’d see the face of a stranger. And you’d know quite clearly what you are unable to grasp: your face is not you.

Milan Kundera