We could read your words from anywhere
but you felt like the only soul sitting
in your swivel chair listening to your parents
dream-breathing down the hall, typing to boys
from Kelowna and Trinidad about
your boredom and body. You blogged
about the three-legged moose you saw
on the highway to Terrace, the lonely red radio
light on top of a mountain. A boy
from Michigan called you on the phone.
His voice reminded you of a tv show. It was
dawn there, Detroit already falling
like an ancient empire. In the photo he sent,
his face was obscured by a trucker hat.
Was the Internet a series of tubes or something
scientists kept in a room in California? Did a robot
army of spiders weave its connections?
In every post, you were the lonely red radio light
we could see from the airport but never get
close to. You gave virtual blowjobs, saw how
other kids in other towns cut themselves, how other
kids walked around other ice rinks
with their problems and frenemies. After school
you completed different versions of the same.
What’s your favourite colour? Sometimes yellow,
mostly red. Who’s your best friend? What’s the one
thing you’ll never forget? Listen to me,
Lonely Radio, I sat behind you in Spanish.
Your hair kept changing colours—black, purple,
black, red—it was a beautiful lightshow I burnt out
after lunch to. Years later, an online boy you loved
was shot dead by his teenage wife. Another
Internet friend messaged you about it. You read
about it, could see the wife’s photo but not
his. Listen, Lonely Radio, you haven’t written
in a while. I think of you every time I fly
from Terrace with Styrofoam coffee and the sun
closing red behind the mountains—please
write, please tell us that you’re fine.
I hate clouds they’re always
spitting in my americanos
looking somewhat but not
exactly like childhood animals
whose afterlives my parents
lied about. The better place
Bronco went was the dirt
under our butter lettuce, better
indeed than with our sorry lot
who robbed him of his beloved
testicles. Little white liars
who promise rain but don’t
deliver until you’re wrecked
on margaritas in a flimsy dress
trying to send a text message.
Testicles from the Latin
testiculus meaning witnesses.
Testiculonimbus hang low
on the horizon, presiding over
sex shops where dildos bear
no witnesses. They look about
to cry then like candy-floss
they blow apart to form
an elsewhere dragon. Could
it be ok to be something else
clouds make me wonder,
to float a little calmly eastward
but when I fall I don’t tickle
foreheads of kissing couples.
I don’t feed fields of canola.
I rip my knees and the sky
doesn’t lift me back up again.
Kayla Czaga is the author of For Your Safety Please Hold On, which won The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry. She lives in East Vancouver and brews coffee for a living.