The above was a draft for the following work-in-progress:
My mother’s voice.
It wilted on my bed like a discarded cardigan.
It was awkward.
It was stale.
It lingered, as would remnants of a birthday party in nursing home cafeteria.
It was indifferent.
It was no more urgent or upset or excited than a mailman delivering a package to a home with no one there.
She may have been reminding me to schedule a dentist appointment, or telling me about a mishap at the dry-cleaner, or recalling the salinity of last night’s mashed potatoes.
Her voice held with the same assertion and pointedness as the blank stare of a child in a dentist waiting room.
It wasn’t concrete, it wasn’t engaging.
It came, did its job, and left.
No more whelming than a perspiring bartender lighting a cigarette
or a hotel maid folding the corners of a toilet paper roll
or a middle schooler doodling a little flower in algebra class.
No more noteworthy than the yawn of a cat
or the snap of a seatbelt
or the bing of a microwave
or the sigh of a dusk.
It was there,
and that was all.
That was my mother’s voice when she told me Trena’s cancer had returned.