Bell Mountain never had a bell;

No ancient, moss-covered tower

In a pine grove

Where flashlights in the day shine brightly,

No mechanized ring on frosty mornings

Calling the crows in from recess,

No four point buck shuffling in the back room

While you ring for service at the register,

But the mountain rang your telephone.

AT&T, fishing for profits,

Had cast its wire-pair cable,

And there it came to rest.

I used to walk along it;

Cables as thick as my neck,

But the poles oddly squat

So I could stand on my tip-toes

And touch prayers.

Then, just before the era

When the cable started to fray,

There was new activity;

A white road and a tower covered in dishes.

The fenced-in shed said “MCI,”

But the mountain was still called Bell.

Years passed again

And last summer they took down the dishes

As if to serve a big meal

And never put them back,

The mountain obsolete.

Even so, we call it Bell

Though nothing ever rings now

Just chirps and sampled tones.

Sweet 20th Century, can’t I grab onto your tail,

The very last nine in 1999,

To keep you from going?

I looked up at Bell Mountain.

You are gone.