Chelsea Newnam


Hopper’s Nighthawks, 1942

A stillness sweeps the street into darkness

and we’re illuminated from the inside, out.

The bar smiles through red

striations to greet elbows with a light

kiss as my mug sputters to empty.

I order another coffee, black.

Night eyes wander through the window to black

pavement, mirrored by stagnant darkness.

The street whispers in empty

desire, as no one is out

tonight.  No one to hover in our light

like moths towards flames of deep red.

The woman in red

is poised against the crisp black

reflection of the window.  Light,

waiting to relieve or receive darkness-

blushing fingertips reaching out

to touch the parts of me that are empty.

A pair of empty

pupils are invitations for her red

fingernails to bend and siphon out

the tension layered thick in black


hoping to expose hidden light.

But our diner produces the only light,

before dawn returns an empty

suburbia.  Relenting darkness,

exchanges bursts of amber red

for the night’s concealing black


Before the sun stretches out

its waking arms of light

to soothe away the bleak black

fear of another empty

evening, I wait and watch habitual red:

faceless, and sheathed in darkness.

Alone, she walks out into the morning and leaves the empty

fragments of light to caress my skin , waiting for the returned assault of red

on the senses: to know the black wells of her eyes is the symmetry of my darkness.


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