28 March 2011

Family Night

We had our share of Monopoly matches,
The Game of Life.
And we did love our cards.
Red and blue decks of Bicycle playing cards
With patterns that belong more on a book of spells
Than a deck of cards.

We also tried our damnedest
To speak with the dead.
I thought your dad was a medium
Like mine.

I assumed you turned off the lights
In the darkest part of a summer night
And clasped hands
Mother to sister to sister to brother to brother
Listening for a change in father’s voice,
Watching for the candle light to suddenly disappear,
Feeling for the tell-tale shiver
Of spectral contact.

You haven’t channeled the dead
After dinner?
You never wondered
Which spirit slid the felted planchette
To Yes or No.
We’d ask,
“Is that you?”
We’d be happy when he’d answer
Or spell his name.
But any ghost is a good ghost
On the night you choose
Séance over spades.

I just figured
That you thought so, too.

Talk about rough! I need a steel file to smooth the edges on this poem. Hey, that gives me an idea. But I have to thank Lolamouse for giving me (inadvertently) the idea for this poem. Her The Ouija Board got me thinking of the fun we had trying to conjure up spirits.


  1. Channeling the dead after dinner? (Love that phrase) An interesting Family night to be sure!

  2. Thanks. We were pretty serious about our seances and such. Well, my dad was. I don't remember how much the rest of the family was seriously committed to it. But we did it all the time. Now the ouija board, that was different. We were all pretty serious about that.I think I'm going to have to go a whole new direction with this, but that line might be a keeper. At least temporarily.

  3. I love your take on the spirit world! I remember asking "Is that you?" also! When we got frustrated with spelling on the Ouija board, we tried holding a pencil and getting the "spirit" to draw pictures. I swear to this day that sometimes there really was a presence there!