* — April 2, 2017

Charles Clegg, 2012



It’s true     I never punched through

a door


but once I threw a phone       hard as I could

onto a futon


It bounced off the cushion

and dented                     the freshly mended             wall


Someone who cared for me

had hung up                           abruptly


Believe me when I tell you I am not a violent person

I was going to be


a mother       I had been talking to

my mother


I was telling her the way it was going to be


It was a cordless phone


which made it easy


Kids today don’t know what it means to hang up the phone


I tell my son       Hang up the phone.



Hang up the phone.

He blinks


Noah. Push the button and end the call.



In the days of rotary dials     wall-mounted   with spiral cords

a thrown phone


could result in painful boomerang

I thought my mother was wrong but I changed


my plan                 Maybe someday         in spite of me

my sons will call me

Originally published in No Tokens Issue No. 6. View full issue & more.

Jennifer Sperry Steinorth is a poet, educator, collaborative artist, and licensed builder. Her poetry has appeared recently in Alaska Quarterly, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Colorado Review, The Journal,  jubilat, Michigan Quarterly Review, Mid-American Review, Poetry Northwest, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. A chapbook, Forking The Swift, was published in 2010. She has received grants from the Sewanee Writers Conference, The Vermont Studio Center, Warren Wilson College where she received her MFA in poetry, and The Bear River Writers Conference. In 2016 she was the Writers@Work Poetry Fellow selected by Tarfia Faizullah and won the Connecticut River Review Poetry Prize. She lives in Traverse City, Michigan and teaches at The Leelanau School and at Interlochen Center for the Arts.