Wendy Taylor Carlisle

The Drake Equation

If a signal from an alien civilization ever reaches Earth,
odds are the aliens will already be dead. Science News

The Man is Lit by Terri Edwards

I got your signal today although you are certainly dead,
the Drake Equation being what it is. It was good
to be reminded you had once been out there view halooing.
Scientists, including of course, Drake, call what I got
ghost signals. On a radio telescope, they look like smoke rings
and I remember how proud you were when you finally blew
one, then a string, of those transient beauties. It was fine
to be reminded of the you you were when you flung love
notes out into the void. I have hopes of real contact someday.
Our tech could grow up. I almost remember the first SETI
signal and I do remember the Jodi Foster movie where she struggles
to keep the signal going. Carhops and Big Macs and Hip Hop,
what do they add up to as they travel across the galaxy?
Even if I dispatch Beethoven and Merwin, some Beatles
and Wright, C.D. or even James, toward whatever exoplanet
you’re on now, would they be anything to you?
They’re all dead, or would be for sure by the time they reach you.
Dead. Gone. Expired. Departed. Perished. Fallen. Deceased.
I still struggle to contact you but the 100,000 years it takes to hear
is a long time to Instagram lonely. So your note, although lovely
and smoky only made me sore, imagining your fingers on that guitar,
imagining the instrument that fashioned your tech-savvy message
and sent it out hoping light speed would be enough to carry it here.


About the writer:
Wendy Taylor Carlisle writes in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is the author of three books and five chapbooks. Her book, The Mercy of Traffic, was released in 2019. She has 11 times been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and twice for best of web. To experience more work by this writer, explore her new chapbook DESIGNATION, available now from O:JA&L’s BUTTONHOOK PRESS.

Image: The Man is Lit by Terri Edwards. Acrylic and pastel on canvas. 12 x 12 inches. No completion date specified. By permission.

About the artist:
Terri Edwards is an internationally collected artist, having achieved success initially with her mixed media collages, playing with paper and paint, mark-making and gestural brush strokes. Her recent work has been in intuitive abstract art, but she maintains an interest in her early specialty of realistic mixed-media collages. Edwards’s core belief is that art has the power to transform, uplift, and enlighten.