Spr/Sum 04

A Tape: For the Parakeets


Listen to this: a cassette tape with a little girl's voice saying the same word over and over and over again: hello. In the background, hear the sounds of cicadas and other summer insects rising and falling, a drone-like accompaniment to the little girl's hello. Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello becomes boring after a while, so the little girl says: hell-o. Like jell-o. Hell-o, hell-o, hell-o, she coos restlessly. In the background, hear the sound of an eating utensil ping ting on a porcelain plate. Now she finds another variation: hullo. Hey. Hi. She keeps this up for a while. Now, in the background, hear a screen door open and shut. Footsteps patter down stairs and disappear. A little girl shouts in the distance. We hear a woman's footsteps, we hear her breathing, we hear her hand as she turns the tape recorder off. Silence now, save for the soft whirring of the cassette as its little wheels turn slowly, patiently, thoughtlessly around and around and around: hello, hello, hello, hello, hello . . .


Sojourner Hodges: "I am 17 years old, a dual-enrolled student at Florida State University, and living in rural southern Georgia with my parents and other animals, namely cats, dogs, and horses. Besides everything else, I am mainly a musician. My poems have recently been published or are forthcoming in Poems Niederngasse, Snow Monkey, Promise Magazine, Alba, and The Wolf (UK)."