Modified Continuous Wave: UNANSWD/UNHRD
by Stephanie Ellis Schlaifer
Going to and from somewhere,
I pass a group of happy children
from across the street.
When I do not stop,
they instead cry, Loser!
and I know they’re right.
But they’re not selling what I want, and who is?
It does not seem producible.
It is not the house on the corner,
which is the size of a dormitory
and equal in its charm.
I do not covet this, the biggest house, Reince Priebus.
I have no romance for the tiny assholes running the lemonade stand.
That is someone’s dream, American and unexceptional.
In my palm, a digital map locates me in a roundabout as a pulsing, blue dot.
I cannot get anywhere from here.
Why do I not want lemonade?
Why do I not participate?
I watch people on television, traveling.
I listen to Neil Armstrong radioing from the moon.
Over and over, I scan the transcripts of
Earhart circling Howland Island:
WE ARE UNABLE TO HEAR YOU
TO TAKE A BEARING
PSE TAKE BEARING ON US
AND ANS [US] WID VOICE
What can I make
with intermittent despair?
An engine roars, and I look up
to see the sun caught in the fuselage
of a jet. I wave.
DO YOU HEAR MY SIGNALS
WILL U PLS ACKNOWLEDGE
And then all my thoughts are icy blue
with frigate birds and parachutes
and I am filled with cumulus and cannot see.
KHAQQ CLNG ITASCA
WE MUST BE ON YOU
BUT CANNOT SEE U
Knowing I begin and end with images,
how far across this field
can my voice extend in singing, in screaming?
Published on June 9, 2017