Archive for May 4th, 2018

Friday, 4 May 2018

E-mail from the Dead by Gary Joseph Whitehead

So they move from one box to another—
from the dark coffin to the inbox
——–of the radiant screen.

A jolt of hope when we see the name,
a second-long resurrection
——–when we read the header,

click the link, watch the next box open
to some unintelligible spam
——–that speeds the grief

all over again. And even though we know,
we wonder if perhaps we were mistaken
——–to think they left without

that wretched goodbye. Maybe they’ve
just been asleep all this orphaned time
——–or away on vacation.

Yesterday, one arrived from Andy,
my former dog walker. And there he was
——–with his many keys.

I could smell his aftershave when I opened
the kitchen door. His fanny pack
——–bulged with biscuits.

In summer, one came from Jim, dead a decade.
How could he be hacked
——–after so long gone?

The old wounds seem to leak out light.
This morning I used the electric kettle
——–he gave me after melting mine

on a flat-top stove. Like our many gadgets,
our reviled store-and-forward
——–communications outlive us,

go on working, postal ghosts shouldering
digital missives through the warm cords
——–of our wired times.

I know they’re dead, these people I knew,
who kept in touch with me ethereally,
——–via e-mail,

but I want to believe that they keep in touch
with me still, that they have
——–something to tell

through the network of networks
about silence and silk, dust
——–and cold ground.


Date: 2016

By: Gary Joseph Whitehead (1965- )