First and Last

by Pattie Flint


March 10, 1876:

Mr. Watson–
come here–
I want to see you.

The first words exploded
through a mile of wire:
tree sap on a below zero night.
The tiny world straining to hear
curious ears cupped palms
reeling and whooping as lightning
came to life in less than ten words.
Bell, is that what you imagined
you would say when you changed
the world?

The lines were silent in North America
the day that you died, sir.
Isolation, pause, ears snuffed.
Remember you, your words;
extinction on wire. The last thing
you had said on your invention
hoarse plea in dead space.

I love you–
I’m sorry–
I love you.

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