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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.