Telephone of the Wind / James Schwartz

“This telephone from times past appeared mysteriously on a tree in Priest Point Park in January.  It is there now with a sign inviting anyone to make a call – a call that allows you to connect with someone not otherwise available, or to speak your mind, even to connect with your own emotions…so many people this year have lost a loved one or a job or a community of friends or just a sense of certainty about what the future will bring. Visit the Telephone of the Wind to share a message or speak your feelings freely in the air and without judgment.” *

Hello? Dad? It’s James. I miss the sound of your laughter. Oh, Dad, you would love Washington. I’m at Priest Point Park. Everything is so quiet this morning. I hiked to the lake and took in the view of the Capitol from across the water. Made me think about our vacation to Washington DC. when I was 12, 13? We went with the Amish tour bus and spent the day taking in the sights. Remember the Petersen House & Lincoln’s bloodstained pillow, brown with age? Remember the homeless lying on the grates in the streets by the White House? Remember the black homeless man panhandling tourists for 50 cents? Remember how the white Amish avoiding him? Remember how you struck up a conversation with him?He wanted a cup of coffee so off you went to a nearby McDonalds.The entire bus had boarded and was waiting when you returned, laughing and coffee in hand. You and he had discovered a mutual acquaintance in Pennsylvania.Thank you for that, Dad. Anyways, you wouldn’t believe how majestic the mountains are here. The other day I saw a bald eagle. It is supposed to snow here soon but today is sunny …



James Schwartz is a poet, writer,  slam performer & author of 5 poetry collections including The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America. Twitter @queeraspoetry

Photo credit: Lindsey Dalthorp, Works in Progress, February 2021 issue

*News link: https://olywip.org/9840-2/ 

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