March 20, 2019 by The Citron Review
by Robert Carr
Shelves stacked with entrails
of telephones. Cop-car black,
house-smoke yellow, the avocado-
green of mother’s Lazy Boy.
In another aisle, a child has found
a Chatter Phone from 1963.
Bobble-blue eyes wobble
as she pulls the string.
Red wheels roll. She talks
to secret friends. I wish I could
still pretend. I walk around the junk
shop, Livermore Falls. I’m missing
the tactile language of phones.
Can’t even dial mom up and if I did –
the dead don’t use these lines
to answer. There is no dial.
I want containment, the radius
of a twisted cord where I pace
in a kitchen. There is no rotary
to fondle as I count years since
her last ring. The lost connection
has no headset, no smoky smell
of breath. A mouthpiece, a landline,
something to slam down. I shake
a fistful of curly cord.
There could be a voice or two
stuck in the wire. I sort cords by mood,
as if an answer could fall out.
Robert Carr is the author of Amaranth, published in 2016 by Indolent Books and The Unbuttoned Eye, a full-length collection forthcoming from 3: A Taos Press. Among other publications his poetry appears in the Bellevue Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Massachusetts Review, Rattle and Tar River Poetry. Robert is development editor with Indolent Books and an editor for the anthology Bodies and Scars, forthcoming from the Ghana Writes Literary Group. Additional information can be found at robertcarr.org.