by Deborah Murphy
In the hallway where I spent my childhood
listening for a door to open to the locked world
beyond me, I looked forward
to Sunday afternoons in your house
at the end of the road, where I lifted the heavy
metal receiver of your black phone—
the kind Lucy used to dial
her way into a new life week after week
despite Ricky’s best efforts to keep her
fixed to his sepia-toned ideal—
then slipped the small bone of my finger
in the last slot, both zero and O for operator,
pulled the ring up, felt the satisfying fall back
to the voice on the line, the operator
waiting for the question I didn’t know to ask.
This poem previously appeared in the 2012 issue of Connecticut River Review.
Deborah Murphy’s poetry has appeared in Chrysalis Reader, Connecticut River Review, Concrete Wolf, Smoky Quartz Quarterly, Soundings East, and Flash!point. Holding a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA from Tufts University, she lives in Amherst, New Hampshire, where she works as a freelance writer and as a writing instructor.