Jessica JacobsJuly 15, 2021

Before cellular service, the official designation for voice-grade communication
was “Plain Old Telephone Service”

Blessed art Thou, Lord of the Landline,
whose cables root in the tight-held earth
and stream from pole to pole—tangible

covenants of connection. God of our fathers,
like Abraham, who declared himself ashes and dust
while bargaining with You in the shade

of his tent. You, who used to be
so accessible, Your number not yet
unlisted, You were obvious

as an antenna. God of our mothers, like Sarah,
whose womb was a dusty storage room
until her laughter cracked a window

just wide enough for a single ray
of life to enter. Of Isaac, unblemished
as a burnt offering, reticent as high noon,

who walked the fields, moving his lips—
no buzz in his pocket to distract him, no itch
to click a message far from prayer. No, a phone,

like an altar, was a site to approach only
when ready, its cord a means of tethering
you to a place. God of Rebekah, who

leaned over a well and the water rose up
to meet her, I too want that force of connection,
with no other demands patching in. On good days,

I can hear these ancestors breathing, each offering
a new way to pray. Other days, like this day,
when every breath brings another

diversion, the best I can hope for
is some divine dial tone, the stressed/unstressed
hum, reassuring that the line is open,

that when I’m ready, I can make a call.

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