Stephen Watt

Since the trickery of an uncle’s coin
produced from the back of my small ears,
I’ve had my doubts.

Whoever conjured this hailstorm,
this erroneous tempest,
practised not in execution chambers
but in earnest, obtained an HND in Hogwarts.

This gypsy wagon convulses
with repulsive odours
transmitted from a hypothetical afterlife.

She raps the table, flapping
beefy limbs, unstable, feral,
swings a dead crow
above her head
like a vortex for the devil to emerge.

(If I filmed this, it would go viral.)

Then a trumpet can be heard.
A dust cloth from a coffin
wafts a smog, white gas, smoke
until a black mass
holds his neglected, vapid face
in immaculate likeness,
mouthing his voiceless cautions.

She smiles, allows the fraud
to swing like gallows, then forgotten
and in the trapdoor of my hands,
she beckons this cherished spirit
to knock once for yes, twice for no,

buffeting her ankles off the chair legs
for answers, and uses double-A batteries
to make her crystal ball glow.


Stephen Watt is Dumbarton FC’s poet-in-residence. Author of two collections, Spit (2012) and Optograms, Stephen became Scotland’s first crime poet at Bloody Scotland crime writing festival and is one half of the gothic spoken word/music collaboration Neon Poltergeist.