The farmer hefts the black telephone
to his ear and listens for a dial tone
before slowly dragging each number
around, mouthing it quietly to himself.

Who will answer, he’s not entirely sure,
but he wants to tell them, “I used to be a good man.
Now I’m only sounds.”

His wife peels apples into a coffee can,
humming along with the radio

even though she’s been deaf for years.
~ ~ ~

Brian Beatty is the author of two poetry collections, Brazil, Indiana (Kelsay Books, 2017) and Coyotes I Couldn’t See (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2016). His writing has also appeared in public art projects and on public radio. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.