family, love, memory

land-line

In the dorm stairwell
hung a public phone
where each week
I’d call home.

Each call a litany
of hellos and reports
of health and weather,
food and whether
I had enough money

as the phone burned
pound coins per minute
till I found international
calling cards at the corner shop

and talk became cheaper,
silences awkward, intervals longer
till the next stairwell call
till you couldn’t pick up at all.

Hand resting on the lever
I cradled the receiver
and dialed again.
Again. Again.

Background

Before widespread, high-speed internet and mobile phones, being overseas for work or study meant the only way to speak with someone back home was via an expensive long distance call.

I suppose this is an experience that is pretty much ancient history, thanks to tech.

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