December 31, 2015 by RJ
Everyone goes out at night for the other thing.
Alphonse for the annihilation of alcohol, looking
toward the first pint, the way a sunflower leans
toward sun, but gets into a taxi. Sherwood, in love
with misery first, Carol second, slips out to jam
with his band, “Elroy and the Others,” sings
“Oh, Carol” first thing. Beatrix for coffee, sits hours
in her neighborhood diner half-pretending to be
in a famous painting she had on a calendar
of nighthawks, all of whom leaned at a counter,
drinking coffee as if peaceably waiting for morning
to let them out. This doesn’t help Bea,
so she hurls her heavy white mug across the tables
to bound off a wall of framed boxers’ photos.
She’s tossed out again onto the street but punches
Otto, the proprietor, in the gut when he drops
her on a bench. He pukes his last cup of coffee
near her sneakers. She walks home with no thought
but sleep. Alphonse and Sherwood snore through
their doors as Beatrix treads past to bed, happy
to stay out later, asleep already, dreaming sunflowers.
RON HOUCHIN lives on the banks of the Ohio River across from his hometown, Huntington, West Virginia. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Southwest Review, New Orleans Review, Kansas City Star, Poetry Ireland Review and many others. His newest book of poems, The Man Who Saws Us in Half, from LSU Press’s Southern Messenger Poets Series was awarded the Weatherford Award for poetry in 2013.