Bartering By J. J. Steinfeld


No more séances, please,
unless you have something to say
my time is abundantly filled
with worlds to be imagined
not with what I left behind
so heavy-hearted, heavier than sadness
and not in the best of circumstances
but that is another story for another day
not that we have days here
but that’s not what you want to hear
and please don’t ask for testimony
of past days and secrets
believe me, at your table, limitless time
is a greater responsibility
than your limited time
so before you beg and plead
and wait to hear the voiceover from over here
think, and offer me something
witty or profound
or better yet,
a bit of kind-hearted humour
that makes me finally laugh
over all I left behind.



(Acknowledgement: “Bartering” from A Visit to the Kafka Café (Ekstasis Editions, 2018) by J. J. Steinfeld. Used by permission of the author.)

Canadian fiction writer, poet, 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 24 books, including An Unauthorized Biography of Being (Stories, Ekstasis Editions, 2016), Absurdity, Woe Is Me, Glory Be (Poetry, Guernica Editions, 2017), A Visit to the Kafka Café (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2018), Gregor Samsa Was Never in The Beatles (Stories, Ekstasis Editions, 2019), Morning Bafflement and Timeless Puzzlement (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2020), Somewhat Absurd, Somehow Existential (Poetry, Guernica Editions, 2021), Acting on the Island (Stories, Pottersfield Press, 2022), and As You Continue to Wait (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2022).

Published 10/31/23


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