COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
CALLER: I dreamed I called you on the telephone
COUNSELOR: And now you did. Wow!
CALLER: to say: Be kinder to yourself
COUNSELOR: That’s nice of you. What did I say?
CALLER: but you were sick and would not answer
COUNSELOR: I’m sorry.
CALLER: The waste of my love goes on this way
COUNSELOR: To be fair, you were dreaming. And I’m here now.
CALLER: trying to save you from yourself
COUNSELOR: But you can’t do that.
CALLER: I have always wondered
COUNSELOR: You can’t. That’s not how it works. You can help me save myself, but only if I’m willing to accept your help.
CALLER: about the leftover / energy,
COUNSELOR: After a shift here, I usually don’t have a whole lot left.
CALLER: water rushing down a hill
COUNSELOR: More like down the drain.
CALLER: long after the rains have stopped
COUNSELOR: No, the drain, with a d.
CALLER: or the fire
CALLER: you want
COUNSELOR: to get out? If there’s a fire, you want to get out.
CALLER: to go to bed from
COUNSELOR: from a fire?
CALLER: but cannot leave,
COUNSELOR: How can we sleep when the beds are–
COUNSELOR: –the house?
CALLER: but not burnt-down
COUNSELOR: You’re a real live wire.
CALLER: the red coals more extreme,
COUNSELOR: They do sound extreme. But I’m not–
CALLER: more curious
COUNSELOR: Well, maybe a little.
CALLER: in their flashing
COUNSELOR: Yes, a flash of curiosity–
COUNSELOR: –but I’d be more concerned about–
COUNSELOR: Yes, that. Seriously. You call and say you want to save me from myself, and then you’re telling me to go to sleep in a burning building. I mean…you do understand that there is a middle ground? I get that you want to help, and that sometimes it’s frustrating when you can’t, but people need to be able to make their own decisions–even if sometimes their choices are different–
CALLER: than you wish they were
COUNSELOR: Exactly! Well, almost exactly. It should be from you wish they were. I mean from what you wish they were. From whom you wish they were? Or something like that. It’s been a long shift, and I’m–
CALLER: sitting there
CALLER: long after midnight
COUNSELOR: It is? This has been a long shift. I was supposed to clock out at five.