It’s 3 AM outside the 7-Eleven.
In the distance, approaching car headlights
Dot the blackness at this hour while
Inside a scrawny twenty-something sits
Behind the counter tracing a 9 mm under the
Counter with his fingers, surrounded by four lonely
Walls that contain items insomniacs seek
During black hours like these. All the cars
Pass silently except for one that booms by, its radio blasting—
A rolling boom box that shatters the still,
Vapid night air while the car’s occupants
Head to nowhere good, to their rendezvous
With the nothingness of this night rhythm
In the key of absurd loneliness.
They all seem to head toward what home
Might be, the place where eyes will later
Strain under desk lamp far into the night
Amid silver ghosts that shimmer in the dark blue
Shadows before sleep envelops them in a dream
Of star-sent angels light years from Edward Hopper’s
Nighthawks, while outside the night’s mist slowly
Evaporates as it will again
and again . . . .
Stephen Anderson is a prize-winning poet whose work has appeared in Southwest Review, New Purlieu Review, Free Verse, Verse Wisconsin as well as in numerous other print and online journals. He is the author of a chapbook, The Silent Tango of Dreams (2006), and some of his poetry more recently was part of the poetry collection, Portals and Piers (2012). Several of his poems have been featured on the Lake Effect Program/WUWM. On August15th, 2013 at 7:30 PM, a few of his poems will be presented with musical and operatic collaboration at the North Shore Congregational Church located at 7330 N. Santa Monica Blvd. in Fox Point, Wisconsin.