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.