“As If the Voices in the Background When My Mother Calls”

Listen to Wesley McNair reading this poem. Late at night have just started partying.

As if when she calls in the morning
they have stayed up
to be with her
all night.

As if what I say makes them erupt
into laughter and applause.

As if when she uses
the first name of the news anchor
he is someone we both know.

As if they sit with her
in chairs not already
occupied with newspapers. As if

they hadn’t noticed the pathways
through her living room
are only wide enough for one.

As if in the moment
before she hung up
forgetting to leave a message
the voices

left their own message.
As if when she

is no longer there they
will go on
without her.