by Magdalena Ball

On the bridge of time
I waited in a dream
toes curled, lips pulled back.

It could have been anywhere
scanning radio frequencies
cold and bright
as if this alien moon were the moon.

Enceladus spouting water
against a frozen heart
in need of heat.

Open strings ultrasound
pressure waves infrasound
an unheard symphony played
in the vacuum of space while I wait
at right angles to the brane
in the middle of nowhere
alone, nothing picking up the signal.

In place of mourning, I found myself
laughing silently, hysterically
a synecdoche
for all those things we pretended were real.

That big open mouth
the echoing void
your waving hand.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Waiting is such a charged verb – conjuring hope and anticipation, along with the notion of a lack – whatever you might be waiting for you don’t have. A new kind of meaning is created in the permanent waiting space — you neither despair nor are you satisfied that things are as they should be. Following from Ferlinghetti’s “I Am Waiting,” I attempted to capture that sense of longing, and its accompanying mingling of sorrow that comes with knowing that what you’re waiting for cannot happen (lovers will never kiss on the urn, aliens won’t contact us, and ghosts don’t exist) with a forced optimism (“renaissance of wonder”).

IMAGE: “Under the Mirabeau Bridge” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti—a painting that features lines from a poem by Guillaume Apollinaire. Learn more about the painting and artist at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Magdalena Ball is the author of the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Sublime Planet, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs and a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at