ISSUE TEN: Satyrs Yell "Me!" | next poem →

Dial Back the Operator

Carrie Redway

Daffodils lined the back fence near the shed. A tomb
for a rusted-out Strawberry Shortcake bike. Grandma's broken garden tools.

Digging up her backyard with a tetanus-glazed hand trowel
—where I thought an old, porcelain bathtub was buried—

I pretended the daffodils were vintage telephones
connecting me to ghosts on the other end.

Daffodil roots-- a series of copper wires sending
electric tremors through the soil to another world.

Tapping the daffodil spathe to clear the line, I spoke
into its delicate, yellow cup: "Are you there?"

The stigma vibrated with my voice and
I told the ghost that answered about the tub.

I had only dug up a few inches of a glossy smooth strip. A hard, white ceramic.
I struck the trowel against it-- not hollow. The edge sunk further under the dirt.

Too much to dig. A bit of black trash bag stuck out from the dirt.
I confessed to the ghost on the daffodil line that I hoped it was a dead body.

Grandma yelled twice from her porch to come in for dinner.
"To dust we return," and my sweaty voice disconnected the line. I heard Grandma say that once.

Daffodils bloom along the sidewalks of the city.
No where near the bathtub at Grandma's house, where new people live, or

her grave site.
I pretend to know the ghost on the other end

of the single daffodil at the foot of my porch steps.
Its stem slightly bent from the wind like Grandma's shoulders.

I think about tapping the flower's spathe,
leaning in like a child again to whisper—this time— "Grandma, are you there?"

—the porch light, although always on, buzzes a little now;
sputters, flickers—

I never unearthed that bathtub.

Carrie Redway is a writer and artist in Seattle. Her work is inspired by myth, folklore and familial ritual.

ISSUE TEN: Satyrs Yell "Me!" | next poem →

ISSUE TEN: Satyrs Yell "Me!"

Charlotte Pocock
   Spring: 1943

Carrie Redway
    Dial Back the Operator

Jennifer Metsker
   Beta Waves Are Not A Part
     Of The Ocean And We Prefer The Ocean

Doug Paul Case
   A Real Thigmotropism

Katharine Diehl
   This is wisdom

Chris Campanioni
   Status Update

Kenneth Jakubas
   The Infield Rule

Karen Neuberg
   Memory Riding Herd on My Heart

Robert Hamilton
   Few Yachts Short of a Regatta

Jessica Goody
   The Selkie

Sandy Feinstein & Keysha Whitaker