What do you do at night? At different times in your life, how have you spent your nights? Is there any one night in your memory that stands out for any reason, as the most memorable night of your life?
I have an instant mind-picture with "nights": summers during my college years and early twenties in a medium-sized southern town, with the intoxicating smell of honeysuckle seeping into every inch of the night. This is a poem that came to me one day when I was remembering those nights and how far we've come from them.
My writing excites you. Not the plot
twists nor tongue tangos,
but the fact that I can be wholly
separate from you, peeled
clean as a tangerine,
a fresh-squeezed lime,
all juice and pulp and smelling green.
a lick of salt these days,
I am too clean. Imagine a park bench
on a July night thick with honeysuckle
and a white sundress sprinkled
with tiny pink flowers. Spaghetti straps.
Imagine stars and a tan and a night as
heavy as a teenager’s heart.
Looking up at the night sky,
I see—or I used to, anyway. Look up.
I have seen the hefty orange glow of the city,
a hint of disoriented aurora borealis,
a clear full moon, and streetlights.
I am startled by so many stars.
An ache like an old lady stretches
from state to state, reminding us
of our concrete musts: a front porch,
a ridge of endless mountains,
We drink it stronger than anyone we know.
We are happier than anyone we know. How
these small irritations pile up, tossed
into the mail slot by a careless passerby,
completely unaware of the careful balance
potentially in peril by a single misplaced word.
~Sarah Cummins Small, Copyright 2002.