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The eight-year-old

next door tells us

Macaroni invented the

radio, something she learned

in third-grade science,

stars all in her eyes,

and we’re both pleased

and pleasantly surprised

the way things work

is being taught

at her impressionable


that she’ll learn the layers

of all the strata

and the DNA

of chimps

we share a common

ancestor with,


splitting branch,

its sailing seeds

of wheat,

that pasta’s

been around

since the Shang

Dynasty, that Marco

Polo took the credit,

that it somehow

mutated, evolved

into a technical


with Fusilli


the carriage

without a horse,

letting Ford perfect

the blueprints

because her life was in a

spiral at the time,

that notoriety

would be out of the

question, that her affair

with Spaghettini

would cause nothing but

lurid scandal,

and Ravioli

beating Edison

to the electric punch,

that the towns on

Italian coasts

were all alight,

before Tesla

made his mark

in Illinois, the World’s Fair

another farce, an overrated

Serbian taking bows,

and then there’s Penne

making a monkey

out of Musk,

that he made a Camaro


with the might of the rising

sun—before the South African

wet his diapers

during apartheid,

that one of these days

he’ll gladly announce

his own social media,

much more innovative

than simply X

marks the spot,

that he’ll be saucy

at the launch,

no, not of rockets

to the moon

or to the bleak

of Marian dunes,

but the one where


million people

are affixed behind

their phones,

make it through the

day without a single

insult thrown,

a single


like the vintage days

of frequency,

of kilohertz

and turn-the-dial,

when recipes

were dropped

between the news,

like the one

for mama’s lasagna,

on WKTC,

in which the crush

of red tomatoes

reminded households

of the blood

of their departed,

the sons on the western

front, whose names

rose up to heaven

when its transmitter

had grown taller

than the trees,

when children

in all their wonder

thought they’d heard

the voice of gods.

Andreas Gripp

November 11, 2023

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