THE BOOK OF ETERNAL LIFE
Here in the attic I find an eighty-year-old phone book.
And if I were to dial the number for any name,
I’d get a wrong number, dead air or a notice of disconnection.
And the names of the lives I hold between my fingers,
are fading now, losing their legibility.
Phone books have gone mostly digital.
Poor souls, they were born too soon to be scanned and uploaded
into electric impulses forever crisscrossing the net.
And so each name’s number truly is up.
Not an antique, this ancient phonebook, this roll call of ancestors.
But if I tossed it away to save space
then most of those named in this meager genealogy
would be as if they were never named, let alone remembered.
It’s Life that’s eternal but never a single life.
About Richard Fein
Richard Fein was a finalist in The 2004 New York Center for Book Arts Chapbook Competition. A chapbook of his poems was published by Parallel Press, University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has been published in many web and print journals such as Cordite, Cortland Review, Reed, Southern Review, Roanoke Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, Paris/atlantic, Canadian Dimension, Black Swan Review, Exquisite Corpse, Foliate Oak, Morpo Review, Ken*Again, Oregon East, Southern Humanities Review, Skyline, Touchstone, Windsor Review, Maverick, Parnassus Literary Review, Small Pond, Kansas Quarterly, Blue Unicorn, Terrain Aroostook Review, Compass Rose, Whiskey Island Review, Oregon East, Bad Penny Review, Constellations, The Kentucky Review, and many others.