I'm sorry, the access code you entered is invalid. 
Please enter your telephone access code 
followed by the pound sign now. 
If you have not established your access code, 
please enter the last four digits 
of your social security number 
followed by the pound sign. 
If the pound sign weighs down the digits 
of your social security number, 
if the digits are heavier than your access code, 
if the telephone lights up and the pound sign rings 
with the last four digits of your right hand, 
you have not established your access code. 
If the telephone is ringing in the dark 
at the back of the boarding house, 
if it is established that your lonely room 
is the last one with a heavy pound sign in front of the door, 
if the blinds in your window are illumined with heavy ringing, 
then your access code has been changed to verify your pound sign. 

Copyright 2000, Joan Stuart Ross 

Joan Stuart Ross, a visual artist and poet, teaches printmaking, drawing, and ancient art history at North Seattle Community College.  Her poetry has appeared in Switched On Gutenberg,, The Paper Boat, Crosscurrents, the Licton Springs Review, and the Metro Poetry Bus, among others. Her poem "Vapor" was an award winner in the 1998 Richard Hugo House "Power of Place" Poetry Competition. 

Originally from Boston, Joan now lives in Fremont, with her three cats: Jasperina, Harry, and Light Blue. Joan's artwork is represented in Seattle by the Lisa Harris Gallery.