COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
CALLER: Abuela of the Headless Saints:
COUNSELOR: Uh, how do I respond to that?
COUNSELOR: Hello, but I’m not–
CALLER: It’s Carlos,
COUNSELOR: Hello, Carlos. You don’t have to tell me your name.
CALLER: Emma and Osmundo’s son,
COUNSELOR: Or your parents’ names.
CALLER: tu nieto.
COUNSELOR: No, you don’t have to sing me a tune yet, either. Or ever, if you don’t want to.
CALLER: You’ve been dead ten years.
COUNSELOR: I think you have me mistaken for someone else. I would have remembered that. Or not remembered, because I’d be dead, but–
CALLER: Your ghost / is cheesecloth thin now,
COUNSELOR: So, wait, even the dead do fad diets?
CALLER: prone to holes,
COUNSELOR: Oh, I liked that book! About the kids in the prison camp! And the one who’d been arrested for stealing shoes.
CALLER: and if I held your soul
COUNSELOR: No, the whole shoe! And they had to labor all day in the desert–
CALLER: up to the sun
COUNSELOR: Yeah, the desert sun.
CALLER: I could count the threads of your integrity.
COUNSELOR: Wait–integrity has a thread count?
CALLER: Ten years:
COUNSELOR: So it’s measured in time?
CALLER: no hauntings, geases, duende pranks,
COUNSELOR: Those wouldn’t make very good units of measure.
COUNSELOR: Those would be worse. How would you know?
COUNSELOR: Again, that could foil your measurements.
COUNSELOR: You wouldn’t know if what you were measuring was real–
CALLER: or possessions.
COUNSELOR: –or who was measuring the threads.
CALLER: Not one.
COUNSELOR: Measuring one thread at a time?
CALLER: ¡That’s not the way your afterlife / was meant to work
COUNSELOR: That’s not how any of this works.
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