Pat Foran: A Marconigram for Margaret

A salamander who grew up in the shadow of the messaging machine that is the sun, Margaret receives a Marconigram from her childhood friend, Delphine.

The message is printed on paper that crinkles in the light of day and curls like the chorus of a long, lost song.

Under the heading “Transmitted with affection from The Marconi International Marine Communication Company” in a majestic typeface called Lucida Bright aka The Truth, the message reads:

Dearest Margaret:

It is my wish that this message finds you well.

It is with what some might refer to as radical joy that I reveal I am in love.

Martin is kind, compassionate, empathetic, giving (most of the time), patient (some of the time) and so, so FINE (all of the time). He is simply the most beautiful red eft I’ve ever seen.

I can’t wait for you to meet him.

Love like the biopic that is the solar system,


Her little heart beating like a teletype, Margaret replies with a text:
Delphine! This is so cool and great! Congrats! I’m so happy for you! Love like a bowl of Trix, ME

Warmed by Margaret’s message, Delphine sends a fax:

Margaret! As you know, the majesty of movement, the maybe of forward progress, informs my world view, especially when the sun comes to call. And when you say “Trix,” the universe takes on a Lemon Yellow hue, and I feel all the Orange-Orange feels. Thank you so much, dear friend.

Can you meet Martin and me for drinks some night next week?

All the love this Lite-Brite messaging space has to offer,


Energized by the Lite-Brite reference, Margaret sends a direct Twitter message:

I loved that game! Thank you for turning on the magic of bright lights!

As you know, I resist any kind of definition — like, good luck to anybody trying to figure out who or what I really am … and if I knew how to spit, I’d spit with extreme prejudice on every label I see — but I do categorize things (living things, included) as being “lights” or “not lights.”

Also, Margaret means “The Magic of the Sun” in the cosmic language of love.

Thank you for bringing me this Lite-Brite magic, bathed in the indiscriminating glow of yesterday. Thank you for being sunlight in my life, friend.

And: Next week with you and your beautiful red eft is perfect. How about Thursday?

Love like the remembrance of things not as they are, but as they were, like the melody of an imagined moment,


Concerned Margaret might have missed her point, Delphine picks up her cell. The call goes straight to voice mail.

Hey it’s me, Delphine says.

While I really like feeding off the past, playing with snapshots of my life as metaphors for inspiration, I kind of don’t like — I actually kind of hate — the whole nostalgia thing.

Yeah, I can groove on isn’t-it-pretty-to-think-so stuff … but I’m all about moving ahead and out of the cool, damp and dark shadows. Forward progress might be illusory, but it’s light I can see. It’s rooted in the little space that is HERE and NOW. Like I am. Like Martin is. Like we are.

 As for Thursday: Zoom cocktails at 7? We’ll leave the bright lights on for you.

Love you. 

From her patio, Margaret plays Delphine’s message back, the sun on her permeable skin.

She thinks about her friend, the way they laughed at Aldo Nova videos on MTV. The way they wore “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” t-shirts to senior prom. The way the two salamanders looked into the night sky and saw only stars. Pastless, futureless amphibians, their short arms reaching toward the light in the cool, damp forest.

The sun in her marble eyes, Margaret preserves Delphine’s message, her tiny fingers searching for the space between the tones of this moment, this now. One that is magic, maybe. Mostly melody, maybe. Hers, maybe.