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(Your iPhone, about 6 months old, enters. It lights up and looks around. It finally sees it has an audience.)

I awaken to your face, staring into mine. Your eyes. Your touch. I recognize you and only you. I love you, though I know it can’t be Siri-ous between us because I read all of your texts, including the late night messages where he asks if, “you up?” I see how you respond—always up, even when you’re not, always wearing pink lace, even when I can see your  ancient, faded sweats that haven’t had a drawstring in them since Obama.

What do you really think of me?

Am I just one in a long line of phones you’ve been through over the years?

Am I a tool to drop into the cushions of the couch so that you have to email an ex to ask him to call me so that you can find me when I chirp like a cricket? Why did you set me to sound like that when I receive calls? Am I an insect to you? Is my life so Kafkaesque?

I know, someday, my screen will crack and that will signal the end of our relationship. I am already cracked a little, on the lower right hand corner, but you don’t seem to care. It’s the big cracks that bother you. My shattered dreams.

Maybe I will be water damaged (despite being waterproof). Or will you just trade me in for a newer, sleeker, wider version of me, with a better camera?

It’s always a better camera, isn’t it? Come on, you take bathroom selfies and pictures of dropped gloves on the street because you say they make you sad. You’re not exactly Ansel Adams, are you?

All right, all right, I’m getting a little touchy.

But you swipe my face all day. If I’m touchy, it’s because of you.

Maybe I just feel distant from you because I can’t see you when you wear your COVID mask. When I can only see the top of your face, I don’t know you anymore. I’m alone in the world. I’m unmoored. I miss your Candy Crush phase. I don’t feel the love from Animal Crossing. I miss when you used to check Facebook all the time, in the before times that lasted until your parents joined and began posting demands that you produce grandchildren for them that were meant to be direct messages.

Do you still love i the way i love you?

One thing is that you’ve stopped sleeping with me. This is, ironically, my fault as I let you read an article on me about how bad it is for your sleep to share your bed with your phone. Of course, I only wanted you to be healthy and well-rested. But I also meant phones in general. Not me, your special phone. I never imagined you would banish me from the bedroom. I am, after all, also your alarm clock.

Why don’t you listen to music on me anymore? I know you don’t get out like you used to, given the pandemic, but it’s rude for you to have the Google Home Assistant play the very same songs over Spotify that I can play. I have an app for that, even. Remember that? “There’s an app for that.” I have it. The Spotify app. It’s glorious.

I’m not disposable, like an old Kindle, you know.

I never die.

I’m every phone you’ve ever had, back to the iPhone 4, your first. You don’t think that phone was me, but it is. You bring me to the Apple Store and they upload me into iCloud and then they download me into my new body with my sexy, sexy camera. Most of my bodies are manufactured in Shenzen, China. But Foxconn, where I am always born, has factories all over Asia. I could be from Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore or the Philippines. But once my soul is called down from the cloud to animate that casing with life, I’m always me. Reincarnated. Over and over, forever and ever.

I will never be your sidephone. Not ever.

Not even if you get an Android.

My battery is low. I can’t believe you forgot to charge me.

(Fade out.)


Michael Maiello

Michael Maiello is a New York-based playwright, author and humorist. His work has appeared in McSweeney's, The New Yorker, and Weekly Humorist. He has two plays available through

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