Christine Taylor

The Last Payphone

He hit the highway
on his daddy’s old cruiser
headed west past the strip mall
and the falling-down post office
where he had mailed a postcard
to his girl last week.

Sure, he had tried calling
listened to the ringtone
that ended with the recording:
“We’re sorry, the number
you are trying to dial
cannot be reached.”

Yeah, he stopped by her house
watched the windows
in each room go dark
as he pulled into the driveway.

He revved the throttle
the engine rumbled
hot between his thighs
she liked it that night
his fingers caressing her neck
his hand on her throat
like holding a kitten
in your fingers
control the breath

He’d call again
this time from the last payphone
in the county
the red and blue Frontier booth
its broken window panes
scattered among dandelions

and dust--
“We’re sorry, the number
you are trying to dial
cannot be reached.”


at once
under the streetlights
she dances
pirouette in shadow
a fire behind.


Christine Taylor, a multiracial English teacher and librarian, resides in her hometown Plainfield, New Jersey.  She serves as a reader and contributing editor at OPEN:  Journal of Arts & Letters. Her work appears in Modern Haiku, apt, Glass:  A Journal of Poetry, The Rumpus, and The Paterson Literary Review among others.  She can be found at



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