COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
CALLER: We real cool.
COUNSELOR: Can you get warm? Are you at risk of hypothermia?
CALLER: We left school.
COUNSELOR: That’s not important right now. What matters is getting you warm.
CALLER: We lurk late.
COUNSELOR: Lurk where? Can I send someone to help you?
CALLER: We strike straight.
COUNSELOR: Strike out in which direction? Please tell me where I can send someone to help you.
CALLER: We sing sin.
COUNSELOR: Again, that’s not important.
CALLER: We thin gin.
COUNSELOR: I wouldn’t advise that. Alcohol can make you feel warm in the moment, but it can bring on hypothermia faster.
CALLER: We jazz June.
COUNSELOR: That’s good. Think warm, free-flowing thoughts.
CALLER: We die soon.
COUNSELOR: Please don’t give up hope now. Just tell me where I can send help…. Hello? …. Hello?
[View the original by Gwendolyn Brooks here]