We built our separate forts
in different rooms of the house,
tents really, out of blankets
and bed sheets, poled up
with hockey sticks and the backs
of folding chairs.
we got Walkie-Talkies
which worked until a feud over rules–
who gets to make them; who gets to follow.
One saying listen: the other obey.
This was before wars were real,
something you signed up for.
Some days it is like
we are wading through
an ocean of radio static
our lives distanced into,
each calling the other:
You there? You there?
a signal flickering in and out
as close as the world lets us.
James Hoch’s poems have appeared in POETRY, The New Republic, Washington Post, Slate, Chronicle Review of Higher Education, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Kenyon Review, Tin House, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review and many other magazines, and has been recently selected for inclusion in Best American Poetry. His books are A Parade of Hands, (Gerald Cable Book Award winner), Silverfish (Review Press), and Miscreants, (WW Norton). He has received fellowships from the NEA, Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers conferences, St Albans School for Boys, The Frost Place and Summer Literary Seminars. Currently, he is Professor of Creative Writing at Ramapo College of NJ and Guest Faculty at Sarah Lawrence.