“Payphone” by Melanie Faith

After a William Eggleston Polaroid 

There’s a payphone that’s been ringing
      since 1984. The snaky metal cord
             you can’t quite wrap around

your wrist as you talk. Keep feeding it
      flimsy dimes. Keep pressing in
             each squat square numeral you've memorized.

You are held in place, your face warbled in the silver-plated rectangle.
      You are held in place, with your tender back
             turned to the world as you prepare to talk

to one face you cannot see
      except so clearly in your mind's eye, as a busy-signal blocks
             or someone else picks up

or maybe all along you just needed this hope ritual:
      to keep feeding coins, to finger-tap each digital beep 
             whether anyone on the other end relieved the ringing

you just needed to keep sending your hello,
      your how are you, your can't you
             come back to the heft of the heavy black receiver.

Melanie Faith is a poet, craft-book author, editor, photographer, and professor. She is also the author of Poetry Power, a craft book designed and written especially for poets of all writing-skill levels. Her latest book, Photography for Writers, was published in November 2019. Learn about her writing and photography projects at: https://www.melaniedfaith.com/blog/ , https://www.etsy.com/shop/WritePathProductions , and https://twitter.com/writer_faith .She was born in December and has a birthday-twin niece.