Melissa Cannon

Advice from a Dead Columnist


Nothing was special about that day. It dawned,
fog-dimmed, until the sun came peeking through
and turned the sky an ordinary blue.
We rose; we ate. The creamer's frothy frond
dissolved like mist upon a murky pond.
We scanned our favorite sage's latest view
on what we ought and what we ought-not-to:
"Dear Humbert Hot Shot, When the bombshell blond
you're fingering goes off, she will abscond
with barrel, lock and stock." "Unlucky Lou,
instead of shredding Fate's next billet-doux,
you might take half a moment to respond."
And if we smudged the pages as we yawned
over our crumbled toast and tepid brew,
the obits and the ads, well, no one knew
she was already speaking from beyond.

Now, static—or some broadcast out of range—
transmits odd messages my ear retrieves
from shaken windows and rain-riddled eaves:
Awake, you silly sleepers! Oh, mes anges,
the cosmos winks, more beautiful, more strange
than anything you've dreamed. Taste her melange,
yes, taste eternity. Whoever cleaves
to time becomes the cuckold time deceives.
Who hoards the years, those forged coins palmed by thieves,
ends up a pauper begging for spare change.
The past? Why, it's an old skin flaked with mange.
And the future's a cracked teapot of spent leaves.