Observable Phenomena

1 May 2015

… it is human nature to believe that the phenomena we know are the only ones that exist.
– Marie Curie

Twenty observations from the séance:
in approximate chronological order: One:
a dim room: a chair upholstered: in Utrecht velvet:
presumably for our hostess: Two: a semi-circle
of spiritualists: they wave to me: genteel
and credulous: Three: here comes: the medium:
her gown: a millefeuille of tulle and silk: I am confident:
from a visual inspection: that the pocket space: is ample:
for a dagger: or: a vial of eau-de-vie: or both: Four:
a curtain rippling: without the assistance: of a breeze:
Five: the table that arises: from the lush Kashmiri carpet:
Six: a zither: without zitherist: it emits
a familiar refrain: Seven: I cannot explain: the source
of the bottle: which whooshed over my head:
and dashed itself: to shards: against the tiled
hearth: Eight: the room: falling dark: at the snap
of her fingers: Nine: a blue haze: it: illuminates
her face: she appears: to sprout: additional limbs:
excess appendages: bonus heads: Ten: her eyes flit:
she floats: wrenched up: suddenly: the way the hanged drop:
but in reverse: Eleven: I see myself: with an iron rod:
stirring the cauldron: those tonnes of dirt: from
an Austrian bog: I make them: into a miracle: small enough:
to fit: into a teaspoon: fifty times: Twelve: the substances
I touched: the burns which appeared: days later:
like saints’ faces: in bread or wood: rewarding faith:
Thirteen: Pierre and I: our wounds: which healed:
but in reverse: a red blotch: would grow redder:
scale and scab: then fall away: to reveal: a fresh ulcer:
Fourteen: we were overjoyed: at our fingertips:
swelling up: like tight red grapes: Fifteen: after a time:
we touched: one another: and felt nothing:
Sixteen: My husband’s skull: pulverised
by a carriage wheel: Seventeen: my cheek: against
his coffin: the attempt: to absorb: whatever:
might emanate: from his remains: Eighteen: oh
my hostess: you can’t scare someone: who
has already guessed: what it is we mean:
by ghost: Nineteen: what’s left behind:
after matter: changes state: Twenty: that fraction:
of the original: which manages: to escape.

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