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Pink Noise Machine

The ear knows the river—

even the river made methodical,

flumed and dammed—

from an untuned radio.

It knows white noise, an oxbow

bolo of electric burs,

from pink. Pink static

runs on moonbeams. Consider

the ocean, its sough,

its surf. A lunar crank

spins water into waves and slides

tides in and out.

The ear knows families

of sounds. It knows the motor

that pocks mute night

from the tranquil growl

of swells and rills and westerlies.

Only pink can a current

sound like the rattling

of envelopes’ cellophane windows

nights your dad paid bills.


JANE ZWART teaches at Calvin University, where she also co-directs the Calvin Center for Faith & Writing. Her poems have previously appeared in Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, and Poetry, as well as other journals and magazines.


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