The Answer Man

by Carl Santoro

I heard the phone ring.

Downstairs Mom picked it up

from the kitchen wall unit.

Mom was crying.

She held the phone receiver

to her ear. I could here her slam

her back flat against the kitchen wall.

She wailed out,

"Don't call me anymore!"

It was my father.

Her body slid

down the wall

onto the cold floor.

Her legs splayed out

in front of her.

She was a mess of

tears and screams,

unable to breath normally.

The separation

was not

going well.

This was the

third episode this week

like this.

I ran downstairs.

It was time

to be firm

with both of them.

I wrested the receiver

from her tight grip.

"Dad, don't call here anymore.

Your calls get Mom too upset.

I don't want you to hurt

Mom again.


The answer man was

a boy of 17.

The answer man

had no answers.

Only questions.