The Old Phones

The old phones were family pets,

shared, oily, of heft, a comfort, 

yet also retractable weapons

you could chuck at your sister, 

black her eye and reel in

like a slick catfish. Yes, they were 

small, warm bodies or, at least, body parts, 

you could innocently fondle, a young cat 

cradled against your neck with spiral tail 

you could wrap around yourself 

a dozen times, a DNA boa, a fetus 

whose umbilical cord could stretch 

across the kitchen, down the stairs,

through the hall, pulse invisibly under 

your door where you could wait forever 

on the floor for that boy to say something 

into the dark shell of your ear floating 

inside the flowered womb of your plush 

carpeted bedroom. You could listen 

to his busy signal, the silence inside

his steady breathing, all heart 

beats. You could hear the voice

of your mother in the distance,

humming receive, receive, receive.


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