The Missing Poem

The Missing Poem


Phillip McCollum

I had forgotten about the book.

After digging through my email history, I located my original query. The bookseller offered an automatic notification service for any book which may show up in its inventory, and 642 days ago, I requested a copy of The Twelve Poems of al-Saher.

I racked my brain trying to remember why I’d ordered it in the first place. It had been at least a year since I’d even read a poem and I didn’t remember being interested in a scribe named al-Saher. A cursory review of my journal around that time jogged my memory.

When I sent in the request, I was chin-deep into mysticism and unexplained mysteries of the past–you know, a little Kabbalah, a little Nazca lines. Several of the authors I’d read went on and on about how civilization was no longer cognizant of the ease by which we can be pulled into alternative universes through certain places and words of power. I recalled even checking out a couple of library books on building structures that played off harmonic frequencies in energy systems, allowing those who resided within said structures to temporarily escape their bodies and float away to the stars.

It wasn’t until I’d conjured hundreds of my own ‘words of power’ and was halfway through completing my own ‘wisdom dome’ in the backyard when I realized that most of these authors also indulged in mind-altering substances that may or may not have aided their journeys.

Not that I ever found any such evidence about Al-Saher. My notes refreshed my memory on him: He was a little-known Arab poet from the early 19th century, and was not only a believer in worlds and forms beyond our ordinary senses but felt that one could access these things at will with the right combination of phrases. He had written only twelve poems in his lifetime, the last of which had supposedly brought about a permanent exit from Earth. His Wikipedia page mentioned that there was only a single run of an English edition printed in the early 1900s, back when seances and spiritualism were seeing a revival in the Western world.

Given my disappointment, I’d wiped from my mind a large portion of what I’d learned during that time and returned to the mundane matters of working at the bike shop during the week and binging on Call of Duty on the weekend. The only thing is that I had apparently been enthused enough to place a pre-order and The Twelve Poems was scheduled to arrive in the mail the next day.

If you’d like to finish reading this story, along with many others, I’d be ecstatic if you’d consider purchasing one of my books.

2 thoughts on “The Missing Poem

  1. Brilliant, brilliant work! I loved everything about this one. The narrator reminded me of me TBH; splitting his time between playing video games and researching esoteric occultist poets. 🙂

    1. Haha! You know, I was kind of thinking of you as I wrote this character, Berthold. I’m glad it resonated with you! It was a lot of fun to write.

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