Communicating with the Dead through Interactive Tombstones
by Katie Krantz

Paris, May 2012.  Christophe Hue                                     

My sallow skin fades,
hiding inside the darkened screen.
I said I wouldn't
Dammit: don't press ON.
I'm glass. I'm flesh.
My dead brother's reflection eyes me
Like a hunting hawk, his profile
slanted in the electric light. I turn
this way— the tombstone bids him speak.
I turn that way— I'm inside
A recorded tour of his house
Again, depending on the button
I choose to relive his life.
I go down the thousands of options
Half-expecting to find
an option that brings him back.
The tombstone smells like plastic and rain;
I see the video's blue glow.
Sound waves shimmer through the still cemetery air
But when I try to breathe them in
It's still just plastic and rain.
I promised myself yesterday, promised Elouise
That I would not find myself here again
With Benjamin. He speaks to me.
A baby photo's outline floats
closer to me, then our pale eyes
look through mine. I'm a drinking glass.
The air drinks from me
As I try to dive into the screen. In the black mirror
I see my own face:
I wipe it away: ON.

Warners free lift, 1960s                      

Katie Krantz from Atlanta, Georgia will be attending UVA for a B.A. in English this fall. She has been published in The Passed Note, The Offbeat, and Metamorphose among other venues.