James Mulhern’s writing has appeared in literary journals over one hundred and seventy-five times and has been recognized with many awards. In 2015, Mr. Mulhern was granted a writing fellowship to Oxford University. That same year, a story was longlisted for the Fish Short Story Prize. In 2017, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Two of his novels were Finalists for the United Kingdom’s Wishing Shelf Book Awards. His novel, Give Them Unquiet Dreams, is a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2019. He was shortlisted for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2021 for his poetry.

Please Call Me Again

I miss the avocado green rotary phone on the kitchen wall.
How I would untangle its long cord as I heard your hello.
We talked about little things—a day at work, a dinner plan,
an annoying friend. Sometimes we just listened to our breathing.
Occasionally, the calls were more urgent—someone was sick,
someone was upset, or “that news story is so sad.”
The conversations ended with “I miss you” or “I love you.”
When we hung up, the sound of your voice clung to me.

Now you text—“Thinking of you,” with a pic included.
I respond, “Thinking of you too, ” “All’s good,” or “Thanks.”
The truth is I don’t think of you, and all is not good.
Because I don’t know who you are or what you do.
Our connection isn’t tangled, and your words are silent.
Please call me again. I want to hear your voice until it clings.