Spirit Board

by Mark DeCarteret

. . . and so we got rid of the day
as well as we could.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne

All that separates you from the past
is this most ordinary form of rain
unless it isn’t you who now sits at the window,
curtains parted to this map of the underworld,
these two flies which now lie on the sill
unawares to who is trapped, who’s departed?

Isn’t that your ancestors who stand in the shadows,
their stares like the flitting of candle light?
The wind will tell you what’s entailed for you,
the next line or even chapter if you let it
but if you were any more tightlipped, polite
you might suffocate, drown in your very own spit.

The sun is unsure of us, returned without wonder.
How little you’ve thawed since its pantomimed dawn
when that planchette had wandered your chest
till it stalled over yet another of your vowels in awe.
You stifle either a wail or a moan as the earth tips,
suffering first its seas and then its heavens.