Ouija and After

Place your hand on the heart-shaped planchette,
our knees beneath the table barely touching.
See it spell Almost. Feel it nudge Not yet.

The art of making something out of nothing
you know well from your parents on the stairs,
the restaurant telephone’s discreet harrumphing.

The dead, your friend recounts, don’t call in pairs:
and yet one flesh, and yet eternity.
I wonder if the filaments of hair

caught in your cigarette case will do duty
to lift your spirit lightly from its rest
in some far, disbelieving century –

(Drop the greasepaint. We’ve manacled the past.
We’ve found a way to keep it pinned forever.
The data that we have won’t gather dust,

and even if it’s cached, we’ll find the answer.
When we’ve stored everything you ever wrote,
the resurrection racket will be over:

packed in the attic, under mothballed coats,
this sheepish poor interpreter of longing
will languish, like a language out of date)

and what secrets of us your ghost will sing.
Your leg brushes my leg, with some regret:
You do not know what doors you’re opening.

Richard O’Brien

Back to The Phone Book