Coming Across the Air

Look it, his Granny said

whenever Boy ‘Anders ate chalk.

He be the ash tongue of the dead. 


And whenever he wrote love notes on slate

to Marantha, his Granny would whisper Ghost

from the diagram of a sentence with a passive verb.

And after she died, he’d listen, at night, to the transistor

radio under his pillow. He’d listen to the static of faraway Indiana

coming at him across the air like the claws of chicken scratch.

Richard Long is Professor of English at St. Louis Community College in St. Louis, Missouri, where he also edits 2River, quarterly publishing The 2River View and occasionally publishing individual authors in the 2River Chapbook Series.