Voices in an Especially Ominous Night by J. J. Steinfeld

when you hear voices(voices almost like visions

almost like frightened animals

given voice, fleeing wilderness)

in an especially ominous night

you trapped by fitful sleep,

by deceived sleep, by sleeplessness,

voices as yells, screams, shouts,

the roaring of confusion,

as whispers articulate and inarticulate,

in other languages, words from other worlds,

other times, other regrets, otherness as diction,

as warning, as wistfulness, as love even,

voices enhanced, augmented,

voices in a film about someone else’s life

and exploits and misshapen fate

voices authentic and inauthentic

the differences between them

in this especially ominous night

hardly worth enumerating

voices disguised, reviled

voices alterable, revocable

voices before humiliation

before mortification

before the degradation

of dispirited mortality

before the beginning of time

rehearsed for the end of time

you lie there and listen

your mind some sort of

recording device

ready to play it all back

when the time comes for wordlessness

and proving the voices wrong…

you did belong

just like the especially ominous night

and all the godly and ungodly voices


BIO: Canadian fiction writer, poet, and playwright J. J. Steinfeld lives on Prince Edward Island, where he is patiently waiting for Godot’s arrival and a phone call from Kafka. While waiting, he has published seventeen books, including Disturbing Identities (Stories, Ekstasis Editions), Should the Word Hell Be Capitalized? (Stories, Gaspereau Press), Would You Hide Me? (Stories, Gaspereau Press), Misshapenness (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions), Identity Dreams and Memory Sounds (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions), Madhouses in Heaven, Castles in Hell (Stories, Ekstasis Editions), and An Unauthorized Biography of Being (110 Short Fictions Hovering Between the Absurd and the Existential, Ekstasis Editions). His short stories and poems have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies internationally, and over fifty of his one-act plays and a handful of full-length plays have been performed in Canada and the United States.

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