Jackie Kay’s anxious and edgy poem traces the thoughts and feelings of someone waiting for a call from a lover. The speaker describes the frustrations of ‘hoaxes, wrong numbers’ and boring calls.
Kay ironically details the narrator’s attempts to bargain with the phone by dusting and polishing it. Other desperate acts include staring at the lover’s photo, ‘assaulting’ the postman in the hope of a letter from the lover and imagining the delivery of a bouquet of flowers.
Nothing changes. But, trapped by the situation, the narrator continues to wait by the silent phone for that hoped-for call.