Voicemail Message #1: Burnout

The first part of a two-part poem about cut ties and lost connections in the digital age.

%28Illustration+by+Adelaide+Magdalene+Miller%29

Adelaide Magdalene Miller

(Illustration by Adelaide Magdalene Miller)

By Bianca de Ayala, Contributing Writer

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Not available.

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At the tone,

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Please

P l e a s e 

Please. 

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Record your message.

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Hello?

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I’m still here.

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It’s been a while.

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55 days,

1320 hours,

79200 minutes, 

still ticking on.

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Since you’ve gone.

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How have you been?

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I’ve been doing well.

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Thanks for asking. 

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The weather has been nice.

Yours too. 

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Oh, well, I still have your weather on my app. 

I check it every now and then.

88 degrees.

Sunny.

Is it ever cloudy over there? 

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I still think about you,

when I’m alone, 

when I’m with friends, 

when I see others together. 

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When I look at the stars, 

The moon, 

The sun. 

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How you would point them out to me.

Hold my hand 

Three pulses: 

Love

You

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When I look at the stars, 

I think about how cheesy you are

How I hate romances 

But you’re a

hopeless romantic

and

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You love clichés,

meanings from the meaningless.

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I wonder if you are thinking about me 

still. 

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I got your package the other day.

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I opened it.

Full of voodoo love 

potions 

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just kidding

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A jar of oranges,

a wrinkled box of chocolates,

a bottle of iron pills

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A note. 

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I read it. 

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It was sweet. 

I pressed my fingers

into the pen marks,

felt for the dents

knowing your hand dealt them.

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distance makes the heart grow fonder.

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distance

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Disconnected yet connected

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I just wanted 

to

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tell you

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I

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You have reached the time limit for this voicemail. Press 1 to continue recording. If you are finished recording, you may end the call or press 2.

 

A version of this piece appeared in the Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, e-print edition. Contact Bianca de Ayala at [email protected]