March 2005 / Volume VI / Issue II
Lisa LaTourette-Pershan
open all night

I like being out at night,
coming home from a late shift at work
or just restless and wandering;
night people drive cabs
& know the sound of midnight rain
on the roof of the car,
rhythmic & soothing as a heartbeat;

they wait tables at 3 am,
their faces rusty & solid,
pour gritty dark coffee
into cracked diner cups
make conversation with their regulars
& smoke cigarettes on their break,
staring through a newspaper
someone left at the end of the counter;

they work in hospitals,
walk silent halls
weary & sick of smelling bleach
mingle with the funeral stench
of rotting flowers,
they empty bedpans & pray for
the first sliver of sun to turn the sky pink,

they see things that don't happen
in the light of day
& something changes in their eyes.