Payphone

by Shannon Quinn
I’d slip a sand dollar in the coin slot to call you
But someone is celebrating mass long distance,
each vowel roundly elongated
in an incantation.
I listen in the comfortable way of Cape Cod in 1978,
with toes in the ocean and buckets for crabs
and fearlessness in my feet.
I’d slip a sand dollar in the coin slot to call you.
Tell you where I am.
But the landscape is a
desolate orchard of skeletal hands
cupped at the side of tall buildings
reaching for a digital signal.
Nothing like Cape Cod
where wild scrambling waves flattened me
and left you standing.
The first time our shared terrain
became incompatible.
And even with fearless in my feet,
and gift shop sand dollars in my fists
I knew I could not follow you
in your boyhood.

Shannon Quinn lives in Toronto. Her work has appeared in The Literary Review of Canada, Etchings, Maisonneuve, Existere, Subterrain and here in Halfway Down the Stairs.

© 2011, Shannon Quinn