The last phone booth in the world
took up residence in our living room.
I liked to hide there, sometimes to cry
or sleep. Other times, to read news
about the war. I never tried to work
in there. I didn’t grade essays or sort
receipts for taxes. The phone didn’t
work, so I never called anyone.
At night, I would lift the receiver
and listen, convinced the sound of its
silence was different from my own
and in this difference was its value.
After my mom died, I planted a bonsai
in the phone booth. The next morning
when I woke I was surprised to find
a massive ficus growing in its place.
Branches drooped over our leather sofa,
some limbs extending toward the bedroom
and others out through an open window
across the street into a stranger’s dark
orange kitchen. I wished I could pick up
the phone and ask my mom what to do.
If she were alive, she would have joyfully
cackled, then offered the perfect solution.
I was sad that I couldn’t call, so I rested
next to the phone book under the canopy.
I sat and waited for the leaves to fall,
to surround me, to cover everything in green.