shades of Linda Lee
by Leslie Greentree

copyright © 2003, Leslie Greentree

my phone is haunted by another shadow
her name is Linda Lee
every day there are calls from collection agencies
Linda owes money everywhere and
has skipped town
leaving me with her details
her phone number that doesn’t spell anything

I feel a strange sneaking guilt when they call
as if I might really be Linda Lee
they might somehow prove it
the irrational blush of the good girl
accused of lying
who suddenly doubts her own truth

the second week I say things like
Linda’s a tour guide in the
Dominican Republic now
I don’t think she’s coming back

or
Linda left to work with Greenpeace
she disappeared last fall
a tragic dinghy accident they were
chained to a Russian whaler

these telephone voices remind me of
my ex-husband parental somehow
slightly disapproving but
too polite to accuse one of anything
to spell it all out