The Present

For her birthday this year
I bought my mother
one of those portable phones,
the kind you can carry
all over the house
so she won’t be alone
anywhere anymore,

except she can’t remember
where she’s left it
most of the time these days
and hurries in her slippers
from one room to the next
only to hear it ringing
somewhere down the hall

and opens the front door
to no one there
or still on the phone
when she finally finds it
where she never put it,
the house getting bigger
as she gets smaller

but no less busy
than she was before
with us six kids
and my father at work, or war —
this new phone like having us
still around, calling from somewhere,
upstairs or down.

© Bruce Guernsey