prompt 23 hour 23 Arthur

prompt 23 hour 23




I don’t remember when he first came to talk to me

in mirrors,

or when we would play cards

or at dinner time

when I would beg my mom to set him a place at table

so he could eat with us

and he was always hungry

and lonely.


I would call him on my red play phone

and we would talk for hours and hours

about his day

and the adventures he would get up to,

and he must have gotten up to some great adventures!


over forty years later I met him again

in a Great War Cemetery in France

(Sunken Road Cemetery),

buried near a lad with my daughter’s middle name,

so I know he was “real.”

Arthur was my relative…

never really imaginary,

just never really visible to anyone else but me.

© r. l. elke

6 thoughts on “prompt 23 hour 23 Arthur

  1. This is amazing…I love this. I love the use of “my daughter’s middle name”; love the color of the play phone; love that you give the name of the cemetery in a parenthetical; just so much excellence going on here…

  2. This gave me chills (fully body!). It was so well written. The use of details about the phone and the mirror and the name were so meaningful, so well done. 100% vote for this to be one of the ones you submit to the anthology.

    1. thank you so much! that means so much! i love that this poem has resonated with so many people. this really happened! he even came to me in a hotel room in Arras, while i was falling asleep and asked me to find him. i did the next day. it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life…and I have had a few of these kinds of experiences.

  3. Wow! you gave me chills in my entire body. I was just sharing on the phone abut a poetry class where the instructor talked about writing a poem with a twist. I tried but could never. Then, one of the poems I did Prompt 17, titled the Little Red Box has a twist which I continue to read and I can’t believe the end myself. Yours is the same.. Awesome!!!!

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