I search the narrow rooms of memory
through steep, childhood hallways
under high ceilings, past dim, flowered lamps,
when, trembling, I hear echoes calling me
in deep tones of summer thunder
to our willow tree out back
just as the blinding lightning
and shatters the still-living wood.
but compelled by my father’s gentle voice,
to another room
in my mind.
In the kitchen, at the top of the long, painted staircase,
I hear small, shrill squeaks and low, electric hums
coming from your ham radio set,
and walking down, I see you,
hunched in the red glow
of your magic box, calling softly
into your silver microphone,
“W8PNW calling CQ, calling CQ, calling CQ”
O lonely angler, you cast gossamer lines into the eternal, black sea
looking for a catch, any response, any acknowledgement,
but I’m with you! Standing by your shoulders,
I hear the distant human voice respond
“K8QJZ to W8PNW, receiving you loud and clear!”
I feel your joy of connection
as, quickly you fill out your special postcard,
(American Bald Eagles triumphantly unfurling your call letters)
to mail to your Newfoundland friend.
This, too, is contact.
Another soul found, identified, and filed
in your list of ham-buddies, and I grin with you
as you sign off
and resume your patient search.