When I reach for my cell phone,
I’d like to hear you whisper,
You’ve won a toaster
from the local drug store. I’d like to feel
the assurance as you promise
you knew my great uncle at Alcatraz.
I want a landline without caller ID
so you can ask if my last name is Whitehead,
and as I stammer back, I’ll feel the burn
and rush as you cut me off
mid-sentence, Why I’m sorry,
I must have the wrong pimple.
Why do I yearn for the way you used
to nudge or singe or extoll me? Why
do I see you show up
when I pass by some stranger
at the store who knows my name,
but all I can say is, paper or plastic?
When Superman surges out of a phone booth
or April 1st spins with old rounds
of new wonders, I start to feel,
again, a rotary phone nestled
next to my ear, the feinting
and parrying of a boxer
just entering the ring,
the phone cord wrapped
like a tourniquet around my finger.
Its sweet pain prepping me
for the static and crackle along the wire
of someone on the other side
claiming to be
the girl who gave me chicken pox
in the third grade.
Since 2000, Mark D. Bennion has taught writing and literature classes at Brigham Young University-Idaho. His poems have appeared in Contemporary American Voices, The Cresset, Dappled Things, The Lyric, RHINO, and other literary journals. Recently his newest collection Beneath the Falls: poems was published by Resource Publications. He and his wife, Kristine, are raising their children in the Upper Snake River Valley.