Dreams of the Dead

They never speak. They stand, animated but still. They watch me. They smile, though there is a knowing in the smile that was never evident to me when they were alive.

Grandparents mostly … and I’m wrong. One did speak. The only one that ever has in these dreams. I followed him down a long hallway and around many corners before he paused in front of a large porthole in the wall. You can’t come in here, he told me, and then crawled through it.

One emerged from the cellar, startled me, though I expressed delight at his being alive. No response. Just that smile, and then he walked backwards down the stairs, returning to the dank below.

And now recent ones of being handed the phone, encouraged to speak to people I thought were dead, and then nothing from the phone, static — a connection, yes, but only to the imploded concentricities of dim electrical noise. Hello, I say to it. Hello. Talk to me. Speak to me. Hello. But nothing. No answers. The subsonic crackle of inter-dimensional space. The subtle and insectile clicks of the analog. Hello. Why won’t you speak to me? Why did you leave? Hello. Hello. The only answer the void. The sublime and unspeaking voice of the void.

A black and white photograph of a woman in a bathing suit wearing a straw hat with a ribbon and bow standing on a beach looking out to sea as the surf crashes in.

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