The moon half full of light
Sounds like the wind,
With a hush as it withdraws
With a tiny noise, a little clank.
Maybe just the halyard clasp against a flagpole,
Maybe the moon against discarded satellite antennas.
But I’m aware this universe began
with rattles, and a distant boom.
We could see it echo in our static ghosts,
When we were the kids,
Late night broadcasts in black and white,
Test patterns on our end of the tube,
Blue-gray light glowing in our living room.
Expecting some better entertainment,
A movie with Clark Gable or Jimmy Stewart
Made twenty years ago, we become
entranced with the hazy symbols,
Numbers in circles and random dashes,
A family entangled on the soft couch, cozy, twisted
In odd shapes to fit, a pair of hangars
Bent to be antennas, thinking
Some gang of interstellar tourists
Is playing with our signal, gawking at us
From the edge of a silent, partial moon.
The father, pushed and prodded by the kids,
Reaches from the sofa depths
Points rabbit ears back to the hidden source.
There’s always interference, he says, when it gets this late.
But before the test pattern closes
And the broadcast day ends,
The signal they were watching
Pixelates into wonder,
Which has its own noise.
The night is rich and fertile
With the hums and breezes
Of its particular form of silence.
A light, alone on a tall pole blinks.
One creature or another’s always moving.
You can hear sighing, brushing, bustles, shuffles—
Some noise of trying.
And beyond them, clang and static
Stretches on a string between two cans
From the beginning of the universe
And through us, strung here
Where it interferes with broadcast signals.
You can hear it at night,
Or in any pausing
Between broadcast and reception,
Speech and hearing,
Thought and action.
Lean in closer.
Put the can to your ear—
Hear all the noise.
Hush, rattle, and boom.