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Remember: a poem a day keeps the doldrums away!

The Signal
Stephen Anderson

 A five hour road trip and three hours of moving my daughter
back into her dormitory have left me hot and tired, a refugee in
a downtown Minneapolis hotel.  Nevertheless, I feel obliged to call
an elderly aunt whom I have seen a total of four times over the last
quarter century.  When she answers, her reedy voice quavers with
a peculiar tone of strident urgency, and she asks … no, she insists
that we drive out to visit her and my uncle at their west-side
suburb, really the last thing on my mind this humid, smoldering
late-summer afternoon with threatening-looking rain-clouds already
thundering across the plains off to the west. So I regrettably decline
her frantic request and tell her that such a trip would be nigh on
impossible, which is something that my aunt does not want to hear
because she obsessively repeats her wish with her former urgency
now turned to a tone of sheer desperation.  A captive of exhaustion,
I do not take the hint, nor can I hear her real message, the one
vibrating up from her heart like a call from the other world
to which only she knows she will soon go.


This poem first appeared in the 2008 Wisconsin Poets' Calendar.
Used here with the author’s permission.



Stephen Anderson is a prize-winning Milwaukee poet whose work has appeared in numerous print and online journals and has been featured on the Milwaukee NPR-affiliate WUWM Lake Effect Program. Author of Montezuma Resurrected and Other Poems (2001) and The Silent Tango of Dreams, his latest collection, Navigating in the Sun, was published by Finishing Line Press in August, 2015. The Privileged Secrets of the Arch, a chamber music composition based on a group of Stephen’s poems, can be heard here. When not writing, Stephen enjoys traveling with his wife, visiting his two daughters and young grandsons in New York City, bicycling, and trekking almost anywhere he can find a path. His new full-length poetry collection, In the Garden of Angels and Demons, is forthcoming from Aldrich Press in the fall of 2016.





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