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The Fourth Candle: Can I Call You Back?

As a child as a young girl, I spent many, many hours on the telephone. I had a babysitter named Eva Balco, an older Irish woman with no children and a husband named Jake. She could really talk, and I would call her just to listen. Sometimes, though, I’d talk myself.

I love the telephone even now, although I know that telephone calls have gone the way of Sesame Street. Life is lived in short bites. Messages. Cut to the next moment of words. Bruce is one of the few people I know who will still talk on the phone. He is phone excellent:

Can I Call You Back?
Last night as always
I called Bruce
he is the best telephone
person I know
he nearly
always says
Can I Call You Back
because he is Doing Something.
Last night he was
cutting up zucchini
and I asked him,
I always ask him
why he can’t talk to me
at the same time as he
cuts up his zucchini but
he can’t. He just can’t.
Later, he calls
back to explain What Happened
the Last Few Days
(nothing and everything)
Mike the painter
has landlord problems
red flying squirrel
still eating Bruce’s grapes
and I listen, thinking
how words
are the musical
notes I love.

About the Series. Postcards for Hanukkah is a sequence of eight photo-poems by Matthew Septimus and Esther Cohen. Each day, for the eight days of Hanukkah, we will release a new postcard, which we hope give some light to you.

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