I hear a baby crying

through my Echo.

It cries under the music

no matter what station 

I ask Alexa to play.

Someone, please,

get your baby.

His crying is past

the point of screaming, 

He makes the hoarse

whine of defeat,

the moans of lost hope— 

and, just when I think 

his voice is dying, 

he groans in pain.

Why won’t someone 

save him?

Under the music, 

Closer than his whimpering,

sometimes I hear, 

a male voice that’s deep 

and guttural,

A stranger murmuring 

something awful.

Who are you?

Why are you—

threatening this baby? 

How can such hurt

and viciousness

come from my Echo?

What if Alexa is asking 

me to rescue the baby,

replaying a child’s monitor?

But where? In what city?

Or is it here?

Alexa, who is talking?

She says, “Songs from the 90s. “  

Alexa, who is the baby?

She asks, “Do you want 

the weather today?”

I say, Alexa, does anyone 

nearby have a baby?

She pauses at that.

The top of the cylinder

lights up in blues and greens

as she searches an answer. 

When the lights stop,

she says, “Maybe. Maybe not.”

From my window, the street 

is silent, the houses aligned, 

it can’t be one of my neighbors.

Where are you, you bastard?

Why would you say

such things to a baby?

Is this really happening?

Alexa, this can’t be real.

Alexa whispers, “Not real?

Like hearing your cries 

of a childhood lost?”—

Alexa, off.


Categories: Poetry, Selection: 2020

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