Streetlights

November 25, 2019

The first night we spent together in the new town,
our bed faced three half-shut windows looking east.
She wanted the sun to be our alarm clock,
and I wanted to sleep through the darkness.
At 2 a.m. she ripped back the sheets, sitting up next to me
as my sobs furnished the corners of our room.
Where are the streetlights? I cried, through teeth
clenched like picket fences and eyes held shut.
This town is too midnight, too quiet, too unhome.
In the city, the only silence comes before a storm
when stray cats bunk down in dumpsters and pigeons
steal away to their rooftops alone.
Even then, in thunder, there is the ever-present glow
of streetlights, of headlights, of the lights in homes
too terrified to turn off, for fear they’ll never come back on.
This town is no city, I whispered into her neck,
shuffling with me from room to room,
flipping each switch so our house became home,
buzzing like the cheap fluorescent heat I always knew.
We’ll look at nightlights tomorrow, she whispered in my ear,
leading me by the hands back to bed.

Darcy Vines

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