A Surrealist’s Disappearance

Electricity has flowed through his veins
since a hospital stay. The last time we spoke
he described his conversations
with the devil, who
it turns out is highly literate
and therefore dangerous. Now the operator

tells me the number I have called
has been changed to a new one
and that the new one is disconnected.
On his letters the typewritten print
is fading fast. Reading them

is like piecing fog together from a thousand
fragments, trying to recreate
his Carolina accent
with California in the spaces between words.
We used to write about our meetings

with Kafka in a Viennese café,
or the time Rilke came to visit.
The price of genius
rose faster than he could pay.
His book has burned a space

on the library shelf
where I found it years ago.
My emails to him fly
into cyber-silence.
Only the devil knows
where he has gone

and the devil’s number is unlisted.

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