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Regret, Nick Courtright

October 30, 2021

I went to a Halloween party as a necromancer . . . because it’s the scariest costume there is.

It’s the saddest longing, though, to bring back someone who is gone, and it can also be the most comical because we know it’s either not gonna work or that person is gonna come back wrong.

Here’s a Halloween poem that straddles the line between sadness and comedy, “Regret” by Nick Courtright:

To call a fire alive, to call a ghost awake,
to call a ghost asleep, or to call it on the phone,

pressing redial one two three
four twelve twenty-one times
and always being sent to voicemail. It’s your first love

again, and it lives.

At what point does the fire die,
does the ghost pick up the phone and whisper

I knew you’d keep calling
until I answered, so now I’ve answered, what is it you
have to say to me?

Nice magical logic, isn’t it, that if a person can call a fire alive or call a ghost awake, they also ought to be able to call a ghost on the phone? And then there you are, right back in the situation of the grieving parents in “The Monkey’s Paw,” afraid of the answer, of pulling back the veil and having to view the void.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. October 30, 2021 8:02 am

    Oof, the end of that poem really got me. It is such a sad impulse and I am really feeling it this week.

    • November 1, 2021 10:14 am

      It is the saddest impulse. Sorry you are feeling it, but it is appropriate to the season and it seems healthy, to set aside a day to think of our dead.

  2. October 30, 2021 11:20 am

    I love your costume! And I enjoyed the poem.

  3. October 31, 2021 8:45 pm

    Great costume and poem!

  4. November 1, 2021 10:09 am

    I hope you had a great time at the party, even if you were dressed as a necromancer! That poem is really sad and fun at the same time. To look into that void and somehow want to fill it and know that you can’t.

    • November 1, 2021 10:17 am

      It was a good party, although I had a book in just in case…
      I really admire the art of poems that are sad and fun at the same time, especially about necromancy which is so often on that line between tragic and ridiculous.

  5. November 2, 2021 7:08 pm

    Fun poem! Love your costume! I have a friend with younger children who went as a “momster” 😀

  6. November 6, 2021 1:39 am

    Great costume! And heartbreakingly lovely poem. Maybe next year I should be a mermaid mail carrier with a bag (or book 😉) full of postcards!

    • November 6, 2021 8:17 am

      Why not a mermaid mail carrier? I have to emphasize that I did dress up as the opposite of what I stand for, though!

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