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The Telephone Call by Maurice Devitt

I was alone in the house when a phone started to ring.
I thought it was strange; no landline and my mobile
sitting silent on the table. The ringing stopped
and a voice picked up. I listened for a minute
and realised the voice was yours, so I wondered
had you slipped into the house unannounced. I ran
upstairs, chasing your voice from room to room
but still no sign. I listened more intently.
The conversation was light and frothy at first,
and, loving the timbre of your voice, I grabbed a coffee
and settled in. Like listening to a familiar podcast,
I nodded instinctively to everything you said and even
thought to anticipate what might be next. The start
of a familiar story prompted me to re-check the house,
tip-toeing self-consciously into every room, the sound
seeming to ghost just ahead of me. I stopped when
I heard a fresh intimacy in your voice, the volume
dropping to a whisper, as though you knew you were
being overheard. My heart was pumping and, when I froze
every muscle, I could just about hear what you were saying.
Words you had never said to me. A nervous laugh
and the call ended. The furniture relaxed and the house
shook itself back into silence. My mobile phone pinged.
A text from you: Please call, I have something to tell you.


Winner of the 2015 Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition, Maurice has been runner-up or shortlisted in Listowel, Cuirt, Patrick Kavanagh, Interpreter’s House and Cork Literary Review. He is curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site, chairperson of the Hibernian Writers’ Group and has recently published his debut collection ‘Growing Up in Colour’ with Doire Press.


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