Night by Frederick Seidel

The city sleeps with the lights on.
The insomniac wants it to be morning.
The quadruple amputee asks the night nurse what time it is.
The woman is asking for her mother,
But the mother is exhausted and asleep and long since dead.
The nun screams to stop the charging rhino
And sits bolt upright in bed
Attached to a catheter.

If a mole were afraid of the dark
Underground, its home, afraid of the dark,
And climbed out into the light of day, utterly blind,
Destroying the lawn, it would probably be caught and shot,
But not in the recovery room after a craniotomy.
The prostitute suspects what her client might want her to do.

Something is going on. Something is wrong.
Meanwhile, the customer is frightened, too.
The city sleeps with the lights on.

The garbage trucks come in the night and make noise and are gone.
Two angelfish swim around the room and out the window.
Laundry suns on a line beneath white summer cumulus.
Summer thunder bumbles in the distance.
The prostitute—whose name is Dawn—
Takes the man in her mouth and spits out blood,
Rosy-fingered Dawn.

From: Seidel, Frederick, Nice Weather, 2014, Farrar, Straus and Giroux: New York, p. 7.

Date: 2012

By: Frederick Seidel (1936- )


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