my mom’s phone was disconnected today
and although she’s been dead for three years
it felt like the umbilical cord had been ripped between us

my stepfather had finally dropped her outgoing message a few months back
until then we could call
and hear her voice
the one before she got sick
before she herself had an umbilical cord
to an oxygen machine
in her living room

Just a simple 609-522-1556
and I could call
and leave her a message:
“Hi Mom, how are you?  Aidan is three now.”
“Hi Mom, Lloyd has the lead in his school play.”
“Hi Mom, Merry Christmas,  You’d be 60 today.  You’d hate that.”

But today, when I dial… 609 522 1556
I don’t hear her voice, and panicked I turn to my husband:
“That’s my mother’s number, right?”

Later I find that out my stepfather is changing the phone into his name
and somehow they disconnected the line.
What if he’s lost the number?
Her number!

He moved out and in and out long before she had gotten sick
and had only moved back full time
after she died
so that he could be there for the kids.

But she was the one who was ALWAYS there
Sitting at the dining room table
Facing the passing cars out the picture window
Answering each call

It takes my breath away
to open my birthday calendar book
and see a parenthesis around her name
Such a short life, filled with strife, and light

I can’t believe that there are no more Christmas Eve’s together
No more late night birthday calls
No more, “Hi Kels”
No more 522-1556

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