Guest from the past, ghost from the future
Here inside my body is a table for all time.
From some place in the future my ghost arrives,
Disoriented, not remembering how or when
I died but carrying a newspaper that sat
On the grass throughout the night I expired,
Saturated with dew or rain, does it matter,
And now all the words are gathered so close
from both sides of all pages, the odd and the even,
they form a single unreadable sentence.
There are no chairs around the table because
Ghosts don’t need chairs and the guest
From the past is not welcome anyway. He will be here
Any moment, even though I lied about when
Things would start, that’s how early he always is,
The past is never late. I invite him hoping my ghost
Will scare him, make him understand his end
Is inevitable. But of course he can’t change.
I end up scaring myself, my coffee goes cold.
By the time the news is dry it’s not worth reading.
This is the best table I could imagine, too, all wood,
Like the big table where Melville wrote Moby Dick
In the middle of the room on the second floor
Of a landlocked house with a view of Mt Greylock.
I can hear the turtle in the alarm flexing his muscle
And the morning air rushing in. Everything
Will be the same next time I visit, except me.