Looking for My Dead Mother's Phone Number

By Cherry, Kelly | Southern Quarterly, October 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

Looking for My Dead Mother's Phone Number


Cherry, Kelly, Southern Quarterly


I was looking for my dead mother's phone number.

If I couldn't call her, I'd have no address to give

the taxi driver. I had no money to pay

for a plane ticket. I had no change for the bus

that would have taken me to the airport if

it hadn't taken the long way around so that

I wound up missing everything. Besides,

there was too much baggage to handle by myself.

Someone said, "You can't take it with you," but

I needed my books, my frocks, my curve-hugging,

floor-length evening gown, my financial records,

and my black Reebocks. I'd stuffed my stuff into boxes

that kept coming open, the contents kept spilling out.

I grabbed my savings passbook and raced for the plane.

First, there was the house to go through, with dark, narrow

staircases that led to the basement, except there were

no stairs. …

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