Long Distance by Brian Beatty

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 sound.”


His wife peels apples into a coffee can,

humming along with the radio


even though she’s been deaf for years.

Brian Beatty
Brian Beatty

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