One day a book materializes
And floats off store shelves;
The other side of earthly farewells,
It describes and tells.
Upon its arrival,
It trends and goes viral;
There’s no literary rival –
Life’s AfterParty is the title.
THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO THE AFTERLIFE
So begins the book in spooky font;
The matter that follows after
Entertains as well as haunts.
The writer pulls back the curtain
On life that’s beyond the grave;
Who is this spiritual expert?
The cover reads: Bianca Graves.
She writes about the Afterlife
With such vividness and flair;
If her readers didn’t know better,
They’d bet that she’s been there.
All across the nation,
In every city and station,
Folks are reading and tweeting
Quotes from the pages –
From Erie in Pennsylvania to Death Valley in California,
To the dusty ghost streets of Tombstone, Arizona.
“Wow,” they say, “she’s a great storyteller,
No wonder this book is a runaway bestseller!”
Considering the content,
The author’s moniker is fitting;
But it turns up to be a pen name
After the press does some…*ahem*…digging.
The investigative trail, however, soon turns cold;
“Where is she? Who is she?”
Not a soul seems to know.
Despite the fame, acclaim and rave reviews,
Elusively she can’t be reached for interviews.
WHO IS BIANCA GRAVES?
So goes the headlines;
Newsrooms scramble for answers,
Squeezed by impending deadlines.
It’s a mystery how the book came to be;
Amazingly there is no publishing history.
One day it doesn’t exist;
The next day there it is.
Consider the sticker on the front,
At first glance it reads “First Edition” –
Perchance if the eyes stare enough,
The words morph into “Hearse Edition”;
Can a label count as an apparition?
Those lucky enough to score a copy
Learn to read fast and not blink,
For the text tends to vanish
As if printed with disappearing ink.
There are photographs with the paragraphs
And they have the power to mesmerize –
For, tho’ meticulously analyzed,
They depict landscapes and skies
Which nobody seems to recognize.
A book reviewer notices something peculiar
About the author headshot on the back –
Creepy and freaky,
It appears only briefly
Before completely waning and fading to black.
One day a curious academician,
Listening to his intuition,
Takes up a determined mission
To do some fact-finding fishin’.
He reasons, “This lady can’t be nowhere,
She has to be somewhere” –
So he runs an image of her headshot
Through facial recognition software.
The results are shocking and hard to accept –
Bianca Graves, it turns out, has long been dead.
To be more precise,
That’s true of Jillian Guice –
The real name of the elusive writer
Whose work set the modern world on fire.
Who knew you can be gone for centuries
Yet still make literary history?
Who knew you can be deceased
And still pen a masterpiece?
© Matt Decker