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Turn off your phone


Turn off your phone.

                                   Place it, face down,

on cold sandstone: that oxblood-red back-step

she buffed for sixty years.

                                            Look out

past the well-kept lawn, its marrow stripes

while radio waves walk through walls,

bark, bone and steel:

                                  congregate to a signal.


Rest your eyes beyond the fence

on the trunks of birch that ebb into the wood.

Feel those white trees breathe.

                                                      The entropy

of branch and leaf may offer some relief.


Whether they do or don't,

after a time you must pick up your phone,

face its empty screen:

                                     turn it on again.


From Staple No 60 (Summer 2004)