And the hour, the minute, that moment of knowing—
will it be on a day like this, the strong sun
glinting off tar in the hospital lot
so I forget where I parked my car,
or which way to turn when the zebra arm
unbars me after feeding the ticket stripe-side-down?
Will I fumble for the receiver when it rings,
or put on the sheath of composure? The calm
I learned at age five, looping my shoelaces
the way Mother taught me, muscle memory
taking over so I did it without thinking, what
enabled me this morning to pick up the phone
as I plowed through the interstate at rush hour?
Talking while driving, studies have shown,
is a matter of multitasking, I read now in Time
while waiting for the nurse to call my name.
A toggle in the brain, the neurons
switching tasks as a computer manages
multiple commands, fulfilling them in order
of what—ease? Urgency? The sequence in which
they were received? So which will come first—
numbness or fear—if the phone rings
while I’m peeling an onion, a toddler
at my hip, the kettle stifling a hiss?
Angela Narciso Torres’s first book of poetry, Blood Orange, won the Willow Books Literature Award for Poetry and was published by Willow Books/Aquarius Press in September 2013. Recent work appears in Cimarron Review, Colorado Review, and Cream City Review. A graduate of Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Angela has received fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, Ragdale Foundation, and Midwest Writing Center. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Manila, she currently resides in Chicago, where she teaches poetry workshops and serves as a senior poetry editor for RHINO.
Donna Vorreyer is the author of A House of Many Windows (Sundress Publications, 2013) as well as six chapbooks, most recently Encantado, a collaboration with artist Matt Kish from Redbird Chapbooks forthcoming in April. She is an assistant poetry editor for Extract(s), and her second collection is forthcoming from Sundress Publications in 2016.