The American Museum of Telephony Burns to the Ground

said the old wood phone
mounted on the wall
O no.

* * *
Hot breath
on the receivers.
Tongues wagging,
bad news.
Tongues licking,
bad news.

* * *
Smell that?
said a Western Electric Model 500, basic black.
Hot damn, it’s smoke.

Is that what smoke smells like?
said a Trimline 210 in country blue.
That was all before my time of course.

Boy I tell you,
said a brass candlestick model Crosley,
until you’ve had smoke
blown in your ear by a set of red lips…

Is it just me,
said a Digitel push-button, two-tone beige, winking,
or is it getting hot in here?

* * *
all the goodbyes
all the see you tomorrows
all the so longs
all the alrighty thens
all the no you hang up firsts
all the ta-tas
all the bye-nows
all the god speeds
all the godblesses
all the ciaos
all the cheers
all the sayonaras
all the sounds goods
all the adioses
all the arrivadercis
all the see ya later alligators
all the in a while crocodiles
all the auf widersehens
all the peaces
all the alohas
all the have a good days
all the byes
all the shaloms
all the smell ya laters
all the au revoirs
all the on that notes
all the I’m outs
all the gotta gos
all the no really I gotta gos
all those toodles

Catherine Bull‘s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming from Bellingham ReviewFIELDGyroscope ReviewLiterary BohemianThe Operating System, and Poetry Northwest among other journals. She holds degrees in Poetry and English from Oberlin College and U.C. Davis, and lives in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Catherine’s chapbook Braless in the Apocalypse was a semifinalist in the Floating Bridge Press 2017 Chapbook Competition. Read more about Catherine at

Photograph by Chris Coe.

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