If anyone here can talk to the dead,
please tell my Dad the news of his daughters
that would bring him the most peace.
Tell him of the dreams we made real,
and the grandchildren who laugh in his image.
Tell him we miss him and we know
he always loved us. List the achievements
he would most want to brag about to whoever
his pals are in the afterlife. Tell him
we’re happy, please – or if you must
catalogue the trials we’ve faced since he left us,
tell him we conquered every one
or tell him that we’re going to
if he doesn’t beat you to it. He always was fast
to find faith in us, I imagine he still is.
You’d better not tell him about all the books
he’s missed out on, or the way the world is going –
anger is bad for his heart and you can’t
be too careful. Who knows if we take
our weaknesses with us when we go? I think so
because in my version of heaven
he’d be wearing his glasses; his face
wouldn’t be his own without those constant frames.
Tell him I know I wasted this page,
I don’t believe anyone talks to the dead,
or at least I don’t believe they can listen. He’s gone.
There are no more updates or back tracks;
I have to lean close to my heart to hear
what his answers might be. He would advise
telling it all to the living, while you can.
Zoe Mitchell is a writer living and working on the South Coast. She has been published in a range of magazines including The Rialto and The London Magazine. Her work also appeared in the Chalk Poets Anthology, a collection inspired by the landscape, history and mythology of the South Downs commissioned by Winchester Poetry Festival 2016, where she also performed her poetry. Twitter: @writingbyzoe