The Black Rotary Phone

February 17, 2009 at 11:07 am (Kelowna Poems, Poems)

It happens every night we are there. Around nine o’clock
the black rotary phone that sits on the kitchen counter rings.
My aunt answers but no one speaks. Sometimes she thinks she hears
breathing. After she hangs up, the phone rings again and again, and
by ten a voice on the line is telling her he is watching us, and knows who’s there.
The ringing stops for awhile and starts again just as we go to bed . My aunt
lets the phone ring and ring off the hook past midnight. I wonder how anyone
can sleep as I lay downstairs with my heart in my throat. My cousin agrees
to walk me up the stairs for a glass of water. I stare at the phone and wonder,
Will the doorbell start ringing? Can the mystery caller see me right now
through the thin kitchen curtains? The water is hard and hurts my stomach.
I don’t linger when my cousin goes back downstairs to bed. I step quickly down
the hall to where my parents are also not sleeping. I end up in my aunt’s pink bedroom
in the small bed against the wall. A large crucifix hangs above me, and I watch it
for hours, wondering if Jesus will open his eyes and look at me. I shut my eyes
and pray for all the souls in purgatory as I wait with my heart beating fast and hard
in my ears until morning.

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