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 while you typed

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 other

problems and frenemies. After school

you lived 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, a beautiful lightshow.


Years later, an online boy you loved

was shot dead by his teenaged wife.

Another internet friend messaged you about it.


In the news article, you could see the wife’s photo

but not his. 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.



Bibliographical info
Kayla Czaga, ““” from Dunk Tank. Copyright © 2019 by Kayla Czaga. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
Source: Dunk Tank (House of Anansi Press, 2019)
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