Yaya’s Telephone

Weighty and black, substantial

to raise to the ear; her hands lifting

the heavy receiver to hear my Hi Yaya

from across the city. Three times a day,

I’d called to tell her–what?

my pet turtle nearly climbing out

of his plastic island, another batch of snails

unmoving in their tank;

my father’s scrumptious malted milkshakes,

my mother’s new sequined dress for the party.

She was my landing place. I don’t recall ever asking:

How are you Yaya? She who arrived in America

as a bride of 19 with no English, who lost her son

when he was on the cusp of four years old

so many years before I arrived.

444-2065 was all I knew, invisible wires

singing still with her voice.

Andrea Potos

Andrea Potos is author of several poetry collections, including most recently Her Joy Becomes (Fernwood Press).  Other books include Marrow of Summer (Kelsay Books), Mothershell  (Kelsay Books), A Stone to Carry Home (Salmon Poetry), An Ink Like Early Twilight (Salmon Poetry), We Lit the Lamps Ourselves (Salmon Poetry), and Yaya’s Cloth (Iris Press). Her poems can be found widely in print and online, most recently in The Sun, Poetry East, One Art, Braided Way, How to Love the World:  Poems of Gratitude and Hope (Storey Publishing), and The Path to Kindness (Storey Publishing). Andrea lives in Madison.

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