Hello, Sweetheart (by Elisabeth Frost)
Mother’s voice on the phone. She uses her favorite endearment.
I ask how she is. “Oh, fine,” she says. “I’m not disturbing you?” And she talks about the constant rain. I half-listen, writing the day’s errands on an envelope, my shoulder clamping the receiver, till I notice an inflection to her speech.
“Excuse me,” I say, interrupting her. “But who are you looking for?”
Seconds pass. Her voice is thin. “Why, I’m looking for you! I’m talking to you, aren’t I?”
“But,” I insist, “who am I?”
She starts screaming. “Margaret! You’re Margaret!”
From All of Us (White Pine Press, 2011)
(Elisabeth Frost is an associate professor of English and Women’s Studies and Editor, Poets Out Loud Prize book series.)