Ode to the Broken Cell Phone

It is on their faces,

their faces,

as it goes down,

a strangled cry thrown

out of their throat like

a hand to a fallen soldier,

grasping at an already

cold, dead thing.

To see it broken

is to see a mother

kneeling over her dead child,

inescapable tears blocked in

her throat until she can’t breathe,

losing forever the part of her

always at her side

(or in her pocket).

The light has gone out

from the screen,

and from their eyes,

never again lit by the

fragile glow of emails

and text messages,

out of touch with the mystic

worlds of gossip and

petty conversation,

falling into a darkness only

their laptop at home can

retrieve them from.

They freeze in shock like

it’s them that’s hit the ground,

the wind knocked out of them,

all their life laid out as

I stand to the side, bare,

with nothing to

shatter me.


12 thoughts on “Ode to the Broken Cell Phone

  1. Wow! This is fantastic. I read this to my wife, as we had both witnessed a fellow hand his cell phone to a passer-by to take a photo of him and his lovely girlfriend. Over-anxious to check the photo, he knocked the phone from the photographer’s hand, shattering the screen and killing the phone. He looked gut-punched, on the edge of tears. I could see his girlfriend’s estimation of him drop several points as a result.

    1. This story is one of many (I could tell you some, but it would just depress me more). People are more attached to their devices than they are to their friends. It’s a sad truth. Thanks for sharing this! 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the poem.

  2. Perfectly captured, Natalie! In her interview with Krista Tippett, Marie Howe said that the face we stare into the most is that of our screen — cell phone, computer, etc. And this is true for her too. What are the rest of us, mere mortals, to do?..

    1. Thank you Marya! Believe me, I want to cry when I sit in study hall at school and am the only one with a book open while everyone around me stares into the abyss of their devices. It’s sort of terrifying.

  3. Ha! I didn’t notice the title and as I’m reading down I’m seeing shades of Philip K Dick and thinking “Nat is trying her hand at science fiction and what is she talking about…(or in her pocket) ???
    This was good luridly Natalie…

Thoughts? I love those.

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