Every now and then, I get some positive emails and comments about a poem, story, or essay. The last couple weeks I’ve had some nice remarks about Lisa Creech Beldsoe’s poem “Finishing My First Agatha Christie Novel over Breakfast, Then the News.” The poem appeared in NDQ 88.3/4. The poem is a brilliant reflection of time and timelessness, the technological and the primordial, and the material and the ephemeral.
As you likely know, these days are particularly challenging for many cultural institutions, publishers, and little magazines. So even if NDQ doesn’t float your boat, If you can, consider buying a book from a small press, subscribing to a literary journal (like our UNP stablemate, Hotel Amerika), or otherwise supporting the arts.
Finishing My First Agatha Christie Novel over Breakfast,
Then the News
The morning after the first sighting of a living ram’s horn squid
Blurry at first. A chance ghost.
Then, a perfect assemblage of puzzle pieces
abruptly discernible in the mesopelagic
twilight, looking back. Not a burrito or
breakfast sausage—which gave any number of upended
interns and even the austere experts delight—
but an intricate secret briefly unshrouded.
In 1926 Agatha Christie included a dictaphone
amid her collection of clues. Hardly anyone
understood the implications. Sheaves of guesswork
and the revelation was an astonishment—so much is still
unexpected. The defense mechanism: being perfectly
still and staring back. Neither common nor
making sense. I re-read the end several times,
unlayering enchantment, seldom understanding
her true position, which is hard to come by
300 pages in, despite hearing a dead man’s voice.
Its sudden manifestation was uncanny.
Scientists, after all, had only seen Spirula
dying in trawling nets, or sometimes in albatross guts.
And the balance cipher: weight above and buoyant shell
hidden inside and underneath, code within code.
All the guesses were hastily flipped, excitedly rewritten,
though without clarity, which is hard to come by
2700 feet below, despite the sly light of photophores.
It could have been anything except what you imagined—
a mystery suddenly vanishing in a swift spill of ink.
Watched by crows and friend to salamanders, Lisa Creech Bledsoe is a hiker, beekeeper, and writer living in the Appalachian mountains. She is the author of two books of poetry and has poems out in Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Chiron Review, Otoliths, and Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel.