Mesas and Particles

Joni Wallace

Some nights inside the caterwaul of coyotes 
the telephone rings, very late or very early. 
Then my father walks out into darkness. 
My mother still sleeping 
and I am. 
He drives along the road, surreal  
in the night-animal hours, he turns, 
drives past a gun tower, past a guard station, 
up a hill, another turn and another hill and then 
far out across a mesa to a concrete building 
where one mile of nothing makes its whir whir.  
My father works the machine that makes the mile go past, 
an invisible flowering.  
Some mornings I dream the machine itself is invisible.
There is my father fixing the invisible machine. 
He can see through it and I can see 
through the thought of it into the azure wave 
of morning, wave the color of an iris inside an iris. 
Look, he says, no hands.


This is one of two Online Exclusive poems by Joni Wallace. Click to read "Stag, Emblem, Anthem."