portion of the artwork for Charles Leggett's poetry

After Hours
Charles Leggett

Reception of this station is poor enough
that electric bass lines pulsate with a fizzle,
like a fart machine with batteries run low.

Someone in a nearby eighth floor window
is counting off slow-motion jumping jacks
bathed in his television’s jumpy light.

His eighth-floor neighbor’s line of Christmas lights
strung taut within the balcony’s recess
looks like a circus high wire, electrified.

There’s also an eighth floor Christmas tree lit up,
not quite triangular in two dimensions;
recalls a “blaster” wound on a Star Wars ’droid.

The poor reception can’t, however, touch
a stand-up bass line: in which case the static
permeates more generally, white noise

as darkly gray as this warm winter’s dead-
of-night sky; unobtrusive interference
through which the bass line punches, like the needle

of an old, immaculately tuned
and moonless Singer sewing machine that threads
its patterns onto tissue wisps of vellum.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 44 | Fall 2014