The dead tell tales, the taller the better,
taller than fiction, taller than spruce, wilder than geysers,
as they trim their wicked grins
to fit their features, which are made of wasted paper,
or papier-maché, polystyrene-dry.
I call up the dead on my landline,
to hear them clearing their throats,
to listen for that faint smack of their lip
which sounds like a slipper
scarpering down some carpeted hallway.
They are never in when you want them,
always there when you don’t.
And when you want a straight answer, like
where did you leave the key for the safe?
they whisper intently as if ripping a Jiffy bag.
And that’s when they tell their whoppers—
for instance, that their badly-slurred faces
belonged to your father, your grandmother,
when you know that they don’t, that their mug-shots,
the ones you dream, are ectoplastic surgery.