Morning’s work done, attention curdles—–is this pleasure?——into something remote,
a phantom erotic of humidity and exercised, now resting, limbs.
How the body, the landscape, finds one vibration and for awhile, hums.
Is it the mind that goes heavy and then the arms, or the arms first and then the mind?
Virginia’s drenched swelter of August settles behind the eyes, an anesthesia
of cicadas, the mist-lines of hilltops growing more distant. Hums—
hums as Royal Rife heard it, discredited quack who believed if you found
the right radio frequency, tumors and viruses would literally be shaken and die.
In his last months, my father held the glass globe, lightning arcing within it,
and placed it to his head, his spine, his chest, in the dark room, Bible on his lap
as he fiddled the knobs of the box, polished wood like a radio of the 1940s,
where he looked for the frequency, the broadcast between worlds
that would return him to his life. In between sky and hilltop, cicadas again,
then silence, all kinds of sleep, the disordered murmurings of light. Listen
for that nervous and voluble confluence, that harmony that almost coheres
beneath hearing. Wake, sleep, and wake again. The sun climbs the hill.
Are there words for this music? Listen for what you need. Try harder
to hear that motion within the folds of light. You will be destroyed.
“Rife Machine” first appeared in Northwest Review, 49.1.