After a period of rest
I felt able
to answer questions
regarding the ordeal.
"What was it like?"
family, friends whispered,
shoulders and chins bent close,
as though speaking lowly would diminish
their ghoulish curiosity.
I let a pause linger
in the air, then answered.
"There was a tunnel. Many of them
in fact. I saw old friends, family
long since disappeared,
so many strangers whose faces
I knew from somewhere, and I felt
the impact faces have upon another.
There were forests, animals, roads
and terrible things in dark
turnings like holes, things
I don't want to think of.
And finally a light, yes, that light,
if not warm, not cold either,
encompassing all I could see and feel.
I wanted to remain, to feel
what that light was capable of feeling like.
But I knew it wasn't the place
or time for me yet.
So I came back to you, and I am
as you find me, for better or worse."
And their small smiles and low laughs
at my self-deprecation seemed meant
to diminish as well the curiosity
of ghosts relating boneyard tales.
Copyright © 2004 Tobias Seamon
Tobias Seamon's first novel The Magician's Study is forthcoming in Fall 2004 from Turtle Point Press. Past/future publications include Diagram, The Mississippi Review, Smartish Pace, and Strange Horizons, among others. A contributing writer with www.themorningnews.org, he lives in Albany, NY. His previous publications in Strange Horizons can be found in our Archive. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.