Other Late Lights

By Aaron J. Styza

The courthouse clock is at attention.
We dance through the street, swerving
And crossing arms, and I want to whisper
Something, but you’re already pressing
Your face into closed store windows.
A pie locked in a diner’s carousel case spins
And ripples its image on the windshield
Of a cruiser where policemen doze
Off, dreaming on the waitress
Who breezes by like Ellington’s Caravan.
The song on their radio speaks
To the darkness with a gurgling voice:
Dispatch, send us a creeping horn,
Urgent meter, black ice and watery hum,
And under a dark room’s shimmering cat eye,
Undress these wet clothes, this language.
My body is dumb and clumsy, but yours,
Reflected in the naked dresser mirror,
Has the cool repose of someone
Who will drown crashing through ice.
Starlight unspools its winch of pale
Cordage. In the small of your back,
There’s a hook, your knees, an oil slick.
Dear, night’s already zipping you up
In its snowy song, while my heart and hands
Take the blind turns of these lines.


Aaron J. Styza received a BA in creative writing from Eckerd College. He currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, but will be leaving the U.S. to work as an ESL consultant in Guangzhou, China. His work has appeared in Heron Tree.