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April 2019 Vol. 15 No. 1

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Peter Newton

Ghost Caller

There is a phone booth in Japan where the living go to speak with the dead.

A man set up the phone booth in his wife’s garden so that he might speak to her. It was not long after the tsunami’s waves snatched her from his grip and swept her out of his sight. Every morning, surrounded by plants bursting with life the man reaches across time and space. Seated in the closed space of the phone booth he whispers so that only his wife can hear, the pores of the receiver pressed to his lips. Seagulls and sometimes songbirds soundtrack their conversations.

safe inside
the sound of rain
on a metal roof

Word reached others in similar despair. The phone booth was trending, had gone viral. Strangers began to arrive at the garden gate. They wanted to sit quietly alone in the man’s wife’s garden and speak to their own loved ones. The man called his wife and asked what she thought of this idea. After some discussion he relented and opened the garden gate. Donations gratefully accepted.

teacups hovering
a hummingbird
joins the party

The man quit his job to maintain the garden and soon expanded it into the shady places where he thought nothing would thrive. He laid a moonstone path out near the cliff’s edge that afforded a safe and beautiful view of the Pacific. The sun continues to come and go. Rain visits often in the spring. The man’s world he once thought was cut in half has doubled in size. His wife told him that one day his grief and his love would become one.

lichen blooms
every season
on her gravestone