It weighed about twelve pounds

My brother swung the receiver

Like a baseball bat

And its green color was all the rage

When Jimmy Carter was president


It sat on our dining room table

Waiting for my grandmother

To talk with her commare

In a language we didn’t share



Once a week my aunt would

Panic call. I’d feel her panting

Through the earpiece, Put

Your mother on

Her daughter ran away again


Dinnertime was sacred. Mom would chide

Chew with your mouths closed

Dad two-tapped his cigarette in the ashtray

And if that phone let out its strident shrill

He’d slam his fist on the table and make the salt shaker yelp.


I could never untangle

All the knots in the stubborn cord

Its twisted jumble always yanking me back

As I chatted and stretched to the freezer

Pining for a pint of rocky road


Finally, I had one in my bedroom

Talking for hours with my boyfriend, dreading

The click of the downstairs line

My father interrupting

Five more minutes


After Nonna passed

The clunky contraption was replaced

By one on the wall

When my brother moved out

We got a cordless, then a cell


But there’s still a tender thrill

When I remember that old phone

Like the giddy mess of a banana split

Or the sweet voice, trembling through the static

Of a first love



Maria Ceferatti is a music teacher in the Philadelphia area and she received her MFA   in Creative Writing from Rosemont College. Her previous work has been published in Apiary Magazine, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Paterson Literary Review, The Best of Philadelphia Stories and is forthcoming from Hippocampus Magazine.