A little wormwood in the cakes, a pinch
Of brick dust in the tea, the candles burn
And senses yearn, the planchette hovers, inch
By inch. Each letter is a word to earn.
Meaning’s hidden, dead are bidden, the cloth
Upon the table puckers. Sounds of moths
Flicker patter. Bejeweled fingers grip so
Cold. Graveyard mold and earthy scents that slow
Merge and surge into the air. Sudden bang
Sudden clatter. Hold it steady, who comes
There? It’s a spirit, are you ready? Tang
Of sea salt, sense of gloom. A mist consumes
The smoky room. Then gone. The spirit leaves,
Widow grieves. He drowned at sea. Bosom heaves.
The sobs abate. Loud knocks. A gasp. Hard raps.
Swirled incense rises straight. Who’s this? Perhaps
An angry visitor from the Spirit
State? Planchette races, traces out Hello
Stan, an older man pulls back his hand, it
Stops moving. Contact broken. Time to go.
Juleigh Howard-Hobson’s dark poetry has appeared in many places, including Midnight Echo, 34 Orchard, Dreams & Nightmares, Noir Nation, The Literary Hatchet, Hypnos, Polu Texni, and various Rhysling Award Anthologies. Nominations include: Pushcart, Best of the Net, the Elgin, the Rhysling. Her latest collection is the Elgin nominated Our Otherworld (Red Salon).