Gail DiMaggio

The Wind Telephone
by Gail C. DiMaggio

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.

Gail DiMaggioGail C. DiMaggio watched her husband play jazz in a world where no artist ever gives up a day gig. She has refused to become discouraged. Her work has appeared recently in Salamander, Slipstream, Tishman Review, ELJ, White Stag. Her full length book, Woman Prime, won the 2017 Permafrost Poetry Prize and will be published in 2018 by Alaska University Press.

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