Stacie McCall Whitaker - Stone Coast, Maine

You're a Good Phone

The glow of the screen is bad for me.

       The glow of the screen emits

               low-dose insomnia.


But I run my thumb back and forth over

       the screen to keep the iPhone

              from fading to the passkey,

                      then fading out entirely.


Radar is my screen saver. It’s a great picture—

      wish I took it. No, Debra did that; she has

              a great eye. Captured him on the top

                   of her tall steps before he

                           descended down

                                like a thudding slinky.

It’s a rare moment when he isn’t looking serious. Has

         that dog grin that isn’t a grin,

                       just humans projecting, but if we’re going

                              by his eyes, yeah, I’d say he’s genuinely

                       happy. Dogs and humans have a few shared skills.

                              Smiling with the eyes is one of them.


He’s been dead for months now. The poems keep coming,

       and I know they will keep coming for years. Dogs are

              projections of our own ego, and here is my ego

                     projected back at me as visual poetry.

 The ego I had to kill

             because he had stopped eating, and anorexia

                  is as bad for the spirit as the body.

Back and forth, back and forth, I swipe my thumb,

        sliding never unlocking,

                rubbing the iPhone as if it had a soft belly,

                       as if it could look at me, expectantly,

                                as if in its short display of his image,

                                         it’s doing me a favor.

About the Author

David Arroyo is a nerd, an ex-Catholic, and a former altar boy to boot. He loves horror films and verse novels. Rumor has it he is currently teaching college composition in China. He holds an MA in English from Florida State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Stonecoast. His Dungeons & Dragons alignment is Neutral Good.