The voices in the radio. They seeped
out from the Zenith’s woven thatch. They weren’t
the voice my sister heard. She’d fall asleep
before Lone Ranger. In altered dark I learned
to listen to the Three Invisibles:
Old Peg, Sam Crow, a wrangler named John Naught.
They fought for places on the windowsills,
not whispering, not worried they’d be caught.
Something or nothing, they had their sovereignty.
My sister slept beside a cotton hound
tattooed in autographs, her company,
but if he howled it was a private sound.
My Three told lies and swaggered visibly.
They lived inside the radio, not in me.
Erica Funkhouser is the author of five books of poems, most recently Earthly (Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt, 2008). She teaches the Advanced Poetry Writing Workshop at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and lives in Essex, Massachusetts. (updated 10/2014)