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Featured flashback

"Past is prologue" here in our Featured Flashback section, and every week we feature a new selection from our archives that belongs in this very moment.  In honor of Valentine's Day, we feature Seth Brady Tucker's poem, "Spam," from Issue 12: Privacy and Secrets, published in 2015. 


by Seth Brady Tucker

from a Kazakh duke today, or a Chechen

noble, or could be even more rare,

like a Nigerian prince. Either way, a lone

missive riding copper wire and gamma


waves, invisible and fast as light, burning

through the Earth’s crust, through the bones

of dinosaurs, through all the dirty oil left under

our feet. A simple and innocent quest for help


crackling its way past swampy cypress

groves, back up and around DC-10s

and little girls who kick their shoes off

so that they can kick the backs of seats


more silently, past little girls who simply

can’t get past the concept of speed and lift

and metal and landing ever again. They

all need things from me that I can never give;


hope fails, love fails, money fails, but they

write emails just to me: electrically charged

posts zapped through the atmosphere, through

the impossibility of wired light, right into my office,


where I should be writing, but instead click

mutely through dozens of their tragic stories

of betrayal and bum luck, border problems

and theft; and their promises of money, gold,


and riches are like little love letters of spam,

asking for so little—just a cashier’s check, phone

number, address, and SSN. I think they are just

like me, simply people in trouble, yearning


for a recipient to be lonely enough to reply.

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