Night

By Phillip Shabazz

What sinks into the empty wine bottles
misted by November at a flophouse. 
An underbelly, voiceless from blue to black. 
Words like skies fall off the windows
where my father’s lips press the glass for a drink
almost bottomless when you lean a curtain 
of streetlight against the eminence of his face. 
What nails down all lids to block out the sun.
What nails up all doors in the skid row 
of a wrapped too tight wino. When you 
park two doors down from the beer depot 
you stage a star while his eye blinks.
What was once a rod pecked from rock
at a private crossroad of mystery is now   
no trick at desperation. Nothing shaky
only one-sided like another drink. 
Attached, you crouch beside a candle.
Throw yourself on the ground. Cover your head 
with your hands making fingerless fog lines.
Blindfolded you cotton wipe stilettos
after pulling your hair into goddess braids.
Tongue kiss his mouth for thrill, then thaw out
in a hot tub watching a body take the water.
Stellar in moonlight. Stellar fabric to touch 
what dances across all distance
and sleep dissolved into wind.

Phillip Shabazz is the author of three poetry collections, and a novel in verse. His poetry has been included in the anthologies, Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont: A Guidebook, and Home Is Where: African-American Poetry from the Carolinas. Some previous publication credits in journals include, Across the Margin, Fine Lines, Obsidian, and Louisville Review. 

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