Thursday, December 27, 2007

Avery needed to e-mail her mother

Avery called to tell me she wanted to e-mail her mother tonight, her mother who died a couple of months ago. I told her I understood. I thought she should go ahead and e-mail her anyhow. I wanted to call my mother to wish her Merry Christmas but she's dead too.

After Dianne died I used to call her phone to listen to her voice on the answering machine. It felt weird, engaging in a covert act, but I did it. I called her phone more than once. More than twice. When her son, my nephew, changed the message I felt relieved and lost.

I called my sister on Christmas. I'm thankful she's alive. I promised I'd e-mail her. I told her I loved her.

I needed to talk to my sister..." by Grace Paley
I needed to talk to my sister
talk to her on the telephone I mean
just as I used to every morning
in the evening too whenever the
grandchildren said a sentence that
clasped both our hearts

I called her phone rang four times
you can imagine my breath stopped then
there was a terrible telephonic noise
a voice said this number is no
longer in use how wonderful I
thought I can
call again they have not yet assigned
her number to another person despite
two years of absence due to death

"I needed to talk to my sister..." by Grace Paley, from Fidelity. © Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.

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