The man beneath my window is shouting at his phone. The phone doesn’t reply. Phone doesn’t get a word in edgeways. His tone is unvarying, angry, and the flow like a tap opened full. I wish I could turn him off. Oh joy! The phone has had enough.

“Allo! Allo!”

He stares at the screen and mutters. Now he can go back to his friends in the restaurant who are all shouting at one another and braying with laughter. No conversation, just shouting. He’ll like that. They won’t cut him off. Nobody listens; nobody cares.


Sparrows, wing flutter,

chirrup soft brown careless songs,

heavy voices drone.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

28 thoughts on “Calls”

  1. A few years ago, in a restaurant at lunch time, my wife and I watched and listened to a guy at a laptop and on a cellphone — could’ve been a character in a movie about gangsters — heavy NYC accent, “No! You listen to ME! You’re not listening! Listen to ME!” Poking his finger roughly against the tabletop to punctuate the threat, the menace. Finally he got up and went outside; cellphone, gold Rolex the size of an alarm clock, loud voice, and the free air to go full bore into profanity and not-so-veiled threats. A bird of a different feather. Nevertheless, your haibun reminds me of him.

    1. We don’t get the Rolex brigade, just small time gangsters, and the Listen to me! is generally addressed to a girlfriend/wife who has stepped out of line. The noise levels are probably similar though 🙂

      1. Oops! That sounds like me! Maybe I’m the sparrow! My mother needs a new address book as I’ve taken up too much of it with new addresses! Oops!

  2. I wasn’t thinking of your flitting. Just envying the birds. It’s true though you do change nest often. Mothers always think their chicks are too free and easy about uprooting 🙂

      1. No problem, we just have to try and make the house in the countryside habitable for when we move in in September. It was a working farm until the previous owner went into a retirement home, so there’s a lifetime’s hay bales, fertilizer, tools, stuff to do with cows etc etc to clear out.

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