Margaret Holley: "Night Radio"




Phoenix radio croons softly, Desert Nights on 95.5,

KYOT, The Coyote.  Your Relaxation Station,

and the water in every cell ripples with sound waves.


Years ago my brother’s ham radio dials lit up like a cockpit.

We slept in its shower of signals and languages, 

tasting the sibilance between stations, whistle and fizz,


voices arriving from nowhere and everywhere at once.

A mellow saxophone and strings caress

the fine line between loneliness and solitude,


as the last planes of the night descend to Sky Harbor

Airport, their wingtips blinking slowly

over South Mountain’s five winking radio towers. 


Below them the valley scintillates with four million

neighbors, each one an intersection, a local station

of arrivals and departures, and the saxophone


explores the dark spaces between us,

alone and not alone on a summer night,

just one of the wild songs rising out of the desert,


Smooth Jazz on KY-OT, The Coyote, doing what music does,

hushing the babel of soundtracks we are bathed in

at all hours, whether we tune in or not.


Margaret Holley’s fifth collection of poems is Walking Through the Horizon (University of Arkansas Press).  Her work has appeared in Poetry, Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, The Southern Review, and many other journals.  She is the former director of the Creative Writing Program at Bryn Mawr College.