by Robert Jackson


My phone has a life of its own.
It takes time off,
relaxing for a few hours
at the hotel bar where I left it,
watching the talking heads
on TV spew thoughts about baseball,
or eyeing the maraschino cherries,
wondering how to tie the stems into knots

Once it spent a morning with the avocados
in the produce aisle at the local Kroger.
“My people come from Puebla,”
said one pock-marked fruit,
“but I’m from San Diego.”
“I’d like to go there sometime,” it answered.

And it does, filtering my texts
and messages, clearing my calendar
so that when I’m called to a meeting in La Jolla, I’m free.
“The nearest airport is Lindbergh Field,”
it tells me, “only 15 miles from the Mexico border.”
Over the next few days,
pictures of red turrets and mahogany scenes
from the Babcock and Story Bar at the Hotel del Coronado
pop up in ads on my screen.
There’s even a text to buy tickets
to the Fallbrook Avocado Festival.

Yesterday I left it again,
this time at the fly-fishing store
on the seat of a kayak.
A folded fleece jacket placed a sleeve
over its black case in comfort.
“Where are you from?” my phone asked warmly.
“Patagonia,” the jacket answered.
“Hmmm,” the phone said. “That would be nice.
May I take your picture?”


Robert Jackson is a Stanford professor whose most recent poems were published or are forthcoming in Southwest Review, Boston Literary Magazine, and Avocet. He has also published two books of children’s poetry with the Highlights magazine group (Animal Mischief and Weekend Mischief) and has read his poetry on National Public Radio.

Back to Vol. I: “IX Lives”