Some nights inside the caterwaul of coyotes
the telephone rings, very late or very early.
Then my father walks out into darkness.
My mother still sleeping
and I am.
He drives along the road, surreal
in the night-animal hours, he turns,
drives past a gun tower, past a guard station,
up a hill, another turn and another hill and then
far out across a mesa to a concrete building
where one mile of nothing makes its whir whir.
My father works the machine that makes the mile go past,
an invisible flowering.
Some mornings I dream the machine itself is invisible.
There is my father fixing the invisible machine.
He can see through it and I can see
through the thought of it into the azure wave
of morning, wave the color of an iris inside an iris.
Look, he says, no hands.
This is one of two Online Exclusive poems by Joni Wallace. Click to read "Stag, Emblem, Anthem."