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Weekly Poem: ‘Radio Crackling, Radio Gone’

By Lisa Olstein

Thousands of planes were flying and then
they stopped. We spend days moving our eyes

across makeshift desks, we sit on a makeshift floor;
we prepare for almost nothing that might happen.

Early on, distant relations kept calling.
Now, nothing: sound of water

tippling a seawall. Nothing: sparks
lighting the brush, sparks polishing the hail,

the flotsam of cars left standing perfectly still.
Thud of night bird against night air,

there you are on the porch, swath
of feathers visible through the glass,

there you are on the stairs where the cat fell
like a stone because her heart stopped.

What have you found in the wind above town square?
Is it true that even the statues have gone?

Is there really a hush over everything as there used to be
in morning when one by one we took off our veils?

Lisa Olstein is the author of the collections, “Radio Crackling, Radio Gone” (Copper Canyon Press, 2006), winner of the Hayden Carruth Award, and “Lost Alphabet” (Copper Canyon Press, 2009). She is associate director of MFA Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

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