I miss rotary phones.

Did you dial gently like

drawing a message in the sand,

or like tearing knots through hair with

hooked fingers?

I miss tugging the wrong digit and how it forced us

to start all over.

Put effort.

Be cautious when we drag.


I miss shuffling through a mental lattice of numbers,

curly wires snagging us close,

like a parent, it’s toddler, to keep us

from wandering

too far.


I miss the heart swallowing screech it made across the apartment,

launching into a stumbling run,

sometimes diving into it.

And it ensnared us like an octopus with

arms and mouth open wide.

Dared to miss it and welcome the mystery of,

“Who could it have been?”

Dare to take the chance of never knowing – forever?

I miss leaning into it’s cradle

with bated breath until the dull blip of a phone

being picked up registered relief,

and knowing that my reward in two seconds

was a voice.

“Thank God I caught you home.”

I miss the receiver’s breathless groan once a call had ended.

It’s different now

when someone says they’ll call because

they have my number.

Do you?

You can have something without ever truly knowing it.

Have you memorized my number?

Memorized me?


– Rachel R. Vasquez,  August 2017

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


I miss the days when calling someone and catching them home was something that wasn’t taken for granted. Versus always having a cell for anyone to reach you at any time, via text or social media. I miss good old fashioned, plop yourself in a chair and have a conversation while you play with the curly wire in your fingers. When my mom used to punish me for misbehaving, she’d put a lock on the rotary phone so you couldn’t turn it and dial – funny now that I think about it. 🙂 It was easy for parents to restrict a kid’s contact with their friends at home back in the day. 😉


I feel like there’s more I can do with this poem, but moving on from this one for now.

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