A farmer has planted a white telephone booth
on the headland facing the Sea
of Japan. He’d hunted for it through
all the junk yards of Honshu. Every week
he climbs the hill, lifts the receiver of the
squat rotary phone, and speaks to his cousin
who was swept out to sea
by the tsunami, along with his home,
his spare, elegant garden.
On Wednesday nights, the farmer shelters there,
telling his lost cousin about the new
seed catalogue, the nagging wife. Pilgrims come,
crossing his land. A woman dials the number
of an apartment scoured away by the sea. A mother
passes the phone from child to child: tell him
what the teacher said, tell him. Lately, I dream
I am the farmer, sealing myself
into some Ma Bell booth, blue and glass,
nothing inside but graffiti, wires,
a black box. I lift the broken receiver
to tell a certain man
he was right.
We planted the mungo pine,
too close to the house.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 4.
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