Touch: The Journal of Healing



Answering Machine Ghost

    by Tina Hacker

Beth’s obituary

listed her daughter’s cell number.

When I called, Beth’s voice

greeted me, told me to leave

my name and number.

She’d get back to me later.

Startled, I pressed the “end”

button quickly

as if it could lay her to rest.

The next day, I called again.

Her voice insisted I act on her words.

The living obeying the dead,

a reversal like paper rewriting

her story. Calls once a day

became an obsessive routine.

Would Beth answer or

would her message cease to exist?

When her daughter

disconnected the line and

a chirpy voice announced

I had the wrong number, dial again.

I felt relief. Had mourned enough,

did not miss the impulse to visit her voice,

to pretend she listened to mine.

© 2013  Tina Hacker

A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Tina Hacker was a finalist in New Letters and George F. Wedge competitions and Editor’s Choice in two literary journals. Her work has appeared in numerous publications—print and online—including two new anthologies, The Whirlybird Anthology of Kansas City Writers and The Poet’s Word. Her chapbook, Cutting It, was published by The Lives You Touch Publications.

Copyright © 2013

Touch: The Journal of Healing

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