Houdini’s Widow

I planned to write a poem to you
To be called ‘Houdini’s Widow’
In the persona of Harry’s beloved Bess
As séance-debunker that she and he were
She held a séance each year in the hope
Harry’d send the signal each had agreed
One would send the other after death
To let the other know they’re there
          (Wherever there was)

As I worded and wrestled and tuned it in my mind
I knew I’d have to reach the same conclusion as she
When upon the tenth attempt realised

          Houdini wasn’t there
          The sign would never come
          No ‘you’ heard or answered back

In my head I saw I was writing a poem
To a you that isn’t there
To a you that is a he
And he will not answer
Because he’s dead
And twenty years now of failing to write through
Is because I feared writing too badly for you
          But you’ve ceased to be
          And I address a he
          Or think I do when
          I only write about him

‘Ten years is long enough to wait for any man’
Said Bess as she extinguished the candle she’d kept
Burning bedside the decade since he’d died
And twenty years too has been a long long wait
For a response
          For a you

There will be no answer
From air and dust

No longer exists
Todd is dead

This poem will not be written
And the candle is      out

8 may 2015