If the phone rings in a dream, should I answer?
If I answer, who will hear me?
Can silence hear?
Do the dead make calls?
Is my father returning the call I made
so many hears ago in a dream?
Does the operator who told me
the line was broken now call with good news,
that dead silence was only sleeping,
that beyond all names and all numbers,
beyond all known paths, beyond the pause
between heartbeats, between breath stopped
and the gap of his going,
she has found him waiting for news
of weather in the world he loved,
of new children learning to walk,
on the sweet crust of the earth?
Will he hear my message?
If I hear silence,
Is the silence listening?
~ Nancy Willard