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Jul/Aug 2018 Poetry Special Feature

A Phone Call From The Grave

by David Mathews and Sharon Mathews

Image courtesy of British Library Photostream

Image courtesy of British Library Photostream


A Phone Call From The Grave

"A voice is much harder to remember than a face... but it's comforting to think that here may be a realm where the personality survives." —Dean Koontz about his experience as quoted in Psychology Today Online

My mom says, "Apparently this is a thing.
I feel it works better from an old landline.
After I pass away, make sure you have one.
Get a rotary phone secondhand somewhere.
Keep it near your books & where you revise.
You know about our family's women.
Out of nowhere, we smell fresh gardenias
& roses. Few days later someone dies.
Your sisters dream of babies before deaths.
As a kid, your Grandma Lulu woke scared
to her dead mother holding her hand one night.
Not long after Grandma Lulu passed,
a cool night breeze woke me from deep sound sleep.
Grandma peeked in on me, the way a neighbor
drops by to borrow butter—then she was gone.
From time to time, an old sailor visits.
I'll feel a draft. He'll be by the bedroom door,
like some mailman not sure of which address.
I always wake when I ask him if he's lost.

"If I can call you, don't be scared. Promise.
You know it's always good to hear your voice.
I want you to know there's no such thing as nothing."

 

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