Albumen silver print attributed to F.M. Parkes & Reeves

the spirit wrote
after the Civil War,
in cloudy script
like you might expect
from someone without
hands, the mediums
busy with so many dead,
collective push
into the other world,
all of us calling.
Down by the river
I remembered sawdust,
his guitar, two or three
songs, his hand palm
up, showing me the place
where his mother died,
like a mirror he thought
of his own death, and when
the table turned,
he appeared. We walked
around a fallen tree,
the woman in me still
driving by. His dance
was the best part, I mean
no one was dancing, men
and women in night
outfits. Even broken,
cement to my thigh,
I climbed the stairs
and breathed the way
I did at fifteen, taking
in the burning. One spirit
passed her arm through
a chair, roses, like the ones
he carried to me saying
he’d never sleep again.
There’s red in the sky, red
in the table, like winter,
the shining garment that materialized.
Oh dont keep calling?
Oh dont stop?
In another photograph,
a spirit has written Difficult
to manifest present conditions
not suitable
, and another, in tiny
script, la porte fermé—so hard
to see it could be fume, though
the closed door is what I’ve stared
at so long, when even
a blind girl can see that’s smoke.