Men at Night

the five quarts of my blood moving almost

four miles an hour means the nurse pushing

a morphine shot into my arm watches

my eyes not the needle seconds only

before my head swims in sweet opioids

not so much removing pain but I care

so much less about it — he keeps watching

to see if I might die I think flickers

of the light behind my eyes blinking out

it’s very late at night and I haven’t

slept I stare back just us two in the dark:

I am standing in a park the first night

I hooked up with a stranger there; the back

room video booth of an all-night book

store; the twenty-four-hour men’s bathhouse

on fourteenth street each first time narrowed down

to his eyes and my eyes, how much you trust

him, how much you want what he has, something

about what’s dangerous while the world sleeps

when it feels like the sharp edge of choices

are most keen like the smallest touch the wrong

way can head out breakneck from this dark place


Proof of Life

Here a green tree moving in the sun here

the sun cartwheeling overhead here birds

newborn in a nest here dappled shadows

blinker off and on here the sidewalk flash

of light and dark here the grass up to no

good here the street asleep on the job here

the curb barely makes it through the day here

the crack where the root pushed up here the mud

dried from last night’s rain here the clear hoof print

from something large passing through here a sign

of bigger things than you and me at night

go calmly past our dark windows never

once a thought for if we know or care.

Noah Stetzer
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