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The Worst Things About That Day The Dead All Spoke To Us, But Only On Twitter

By: Michael Conley


the way we couldn’t verify it was really them and not just some bot-farm scam

even when we asked questions only they could know the answers to, like

‘grandma, do you remember the song you used to sing to rock me to sleep,

because even if they replied ‘of course, sweet boy, Edelweiss, it was Edelweiss,

couldn’t that just have been harvested from our memories somehow

the way they were irritated by our uncertainty – look, we’ll DM you pictures

if you don’t believe us – but whenever they tried that, every image was the same:

a silvery smudge, roughly humanoid, white background, dark spots

where eyes and mouth might belong, and if you looked at them too hard

you began to hear a high-pitched scream inside your brain that took ages to stop

the way anyone famous immediately had thousands, hundreds of thousands of impostors

also claiming to be them so whatever the real Shakespeare had to say

was swamped by imitations of varying quality, and because none of them had jobs

they really cranked out that content for the entire twenty-four hours,

there was so much they wanted to say, but only about the world of the living

the way they lauded death over us as though it had conferred upon them a wisdom

we couldn’t possibly comprehend, even though their posts were largely insipid

or bigoted or TYPED ALL IN CAPITALS, the way they couldn’t/wouldn’t tell us

about an afterlife, because they claimed not to know where they were,

the way they seemed so insultingly desperate, as midnight approached, to leave again,

we hate it here, being nothing and nobody for eternity was better than this,

how embarrassing to still be alive anyway, we can’t believe we used to like it

the way they did leave again and haven’t returned since,

the way none of us learned anything from any of it

the way nothing they said made any of us feel any less alone

About the Author

Michael Conley is a poet from Manchester, UK. His poetry has been Highly Commended in the Forward Prize. His latest pamphlet, "These Are Not My Dreams And Anyway Nothing Here Is Purple" was published by Nine Pens in 2021. He was the 2022 winner of the Peggy Poole Prize

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