Julie Kane’s two most recent poetry collections are Jazz Funeral (2009), the winner of the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, and Rhythm & Booze (2003), a National Poetry Series winner and Poets’ Prize finalist. Her one-act opera Starship Paradise, with music by Dale Trumbore, was produced by Center City Opera Theater of Philadelphia in the spring of 2013. The 2011-2013 Louisiana Poet Laureate, she teaches at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and on the faculty of the West Chester Poetry Conference.
Something like a Telephone
Just at the edge of falling into sleep,
into crocodile pools holding no less terror
than the waking witch who claimed to be her mother,
sometimes she would startle at the calling of her name.
And although the crude telephones she made with friends
out of nail-punched soup cans and candle-waxed string
never carried one word from a mouth to an ear,
somehow she knew the voice was calling through time.
Years later, washing up on the other shore of pain,
astonished at the fact of her improbable survival,
she would try to remember, as sleep overtook her,
to call down the channel that opened between worlds.
I thought if I got up and
ran around the subdivision
early enough, while the cats
were still sleeping under cars,
and the sky was amethyst,
I could run to the land of the living
with my keys in my hand like
a frozen torch. That summer,
the wind blew east to west
as I passed my house
of smoke and dust,
of spoken and written words.