Naomi Shihab Nye

(12 March 1952 / St. Louis, Missouri)

Alaska - Poem by Naomi Shihab Nye

The phone rang in the middle of the Fairbanks night and was always a
wrong number for the Klondike Lounge. Not here, I'd say sleepily. Different
place. We're a bunch of people rolled up in quilts. Then I'd lie awake
wondering, But how is it over there at the Klondike? The stocky building
nestled between parking lots a few blocks from our apartment like some
Yukon explorer's good dream of smoky windows and chow. Surely the
comforting click of pool balls, the scent of old grease, flannel, and steam.
Back home in Texas we got wrong numbers for the local cable TV
company. People were convinced I was a secretary who didn't want to
talk to them. They'd call four times in a row. Sir, I eventually told a
determined gentleman, We've been monitoring your viewing and are sorry to
report you watch entirely too much television. You are currently ineligible for
cable services. Try reading a book or something. He didn't call back. For the
Klondike Lounge I finally mumbled, Come on over, the beer is on us.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012

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