In an effort to get people to look into each other's eyes more,
the government has decided to allow each person exactly one hundred and sixty-seven words, per day.
When the phone rings, I put it to my ear without saying hello.
In the restaurant I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.
Late at night, I call my long-distance lover and proudly say: I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.
When she doesn't respond, I know she's used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you, thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line and listen to each other breathe.