Summer 1986 • Vol. VIII No. 3 PoetryJuly 1, 1986 |

Mothers

Wrong number. I know it as soon as she whinesHello, the accent more Italian than Greek.I push it: this is a holiday, and maybe the voiceWarps somewhere between Philly and Abilene:Mom, is it you? And it is, in a way, a motherBut not mine. I finally phoned, she says,After all these years, relented—I can't cut inWhile she's crying—she wants me to knowAll is forgotten, the clamor and strokeI caused at the wedding, the affairAt Aunt Nell's. I'm a good boy, basically,Aside from the temper. She's quiet now,Worried she has said too much. And she has,Of course. No matter: I have a mother, too,Who waits in the city for a callLike this one. So I tell her, forgive meFor not saying this sooner—there's static—But I love you, mom, I care about youAnd better go before I wreck it again.

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