Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: The Present

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Today Bruce Guernsey of Bethel recalls the phone he once bought for his aging mother, whose experience with it, he writes, was for him both comic and ?immensely poignant.?

The Present by Bruce Guernsey

For her birthday that year
I bought my mother
one of those portable phones,
a new kind you could carry
all over the house
so she wouldn?t be alone
anywhere anymore,
except she couldn?t remember
where she left it 
most of the time those days
and hurried in her slippers
from one room to the next
only to hear it ringing
somewhere down the hall
and opened the front door
to no one there
or still on the phone
when she finally found it
where she never put it,
the house getting bigger
as she got smaller
but no less busy
than she was before
with us six kids
and my father at work, or war?
that new phone like having us
still around, calling from somewhere,
upstairs or down.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2012 Bruce Guernsey. Reprinted from From Rain: Poems, 1970-2010, Ecco Qua Press, 2012, by permission of Bruce Guernsey. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Special Consultant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at mainepoetlaureate@gmail.com or 207-228-8263. Take Heart: Poems from Maine, an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.