An Existential Foretelling by J. J. Steinfeld

First there was the anonymous phone call
a voice soft but insistent:
Justify your existence.
I beg your pardon,
you said and all you heard
before the uncompromising click
was a little sigh
like after unsatisfying lovemaking
with a not-so-total stranger.
The phone didn’t ring
for a good month
then the e-mail came
precisely at midnight
a misplaced cue
from a bad horror film:
Why shouldn’t you be evaporated?
It was a threat, you knew,
but your mind played
with the word evaporated
dribbling it back and forth.
A week later
a letter with the most
beautiful stamp you’d ever seen
arrived but you couldn’t
pinpoint the place
or even the continent—
a single sentence
on the perfumed paper:
It will all end tomorrow
on a ghostly All Hallows’ Eve.
The word-dribbling
resumed in earnest
each word bounced
up and down, up and down,
until you couldn’t comprehend
one single word.
Another Halloween approached
and you sat by the window
a numbing drink in hand
waiting for the end.

Canadian poet, fiction writer, and playwright J. J. Steinfeld lives on Prince Edward Island, where he is patiently waiting for Godot’s arrival and a phone call from Kafka. While waiting, he has published nineteen books, including Identity Dreams and Memory Sounds (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2014), Madhouses in Heaven, Castles in Hell (Stories, Ekstasis Editions, 2015), An Unauthorized Biography of Being (Stories, Ekstasis Editions, 2016), Absurdity, Woe Is Me, Glory Be (Poetry, Guernica Editions, 2017), and A Visit to the Kafka Café (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2018). His short stories and poems have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies internationally, and over fifty of his one-act plays and a handful of full-length plays have been performed in Canada and the United States.

Published 10/31/18