After Darkness, a Neighbor Turns the Lights On

By HANNAH JANSEN

 

View of the Brooklyn Bridge at night. Below the bridge is a small group of people clustered around a lit structure we can't quite see. In the far left of the photo, we see people walking down a sidewalk. The skyline rises in the distance.

   Brooklyn, New York  

 

Not so much that the darkness disappears
but that after linked, round globes appear
on a humdrum weeknight under the trees,
I start noticing them everywhere,
glowing in their various iterations
They are of course hanging from awnings
outside sleepy or newly bustling cafes
like the one where a band plays nights
when there’s just enough light to see music—
strings swallow-esque in spring air
A man sells tulips, chipped lamps, knick-knacks,
at sundown lights his wares with little bulbs,
a calmness bathing every bright thing    
How could I not stop outside the hat shop—                                                                        
cadmium yellow, geranium, deep green
All the headlines, the changing news, I need:
Someone somewhere is wearing a feather
in their cap, &, according to what’s scrawled
in white chalk outside the laundromat,
Rosebud loves J.B.     These days I live
for the pink sky, forsythia,
star magnolia nodding in wind
that blows in as though from a long way off
like it came on a mission to touch,
to lift the lights in its arms, show them to
every neon, aching heart passing by 

 

Hannah Jansen‘s poems and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in jubilat, The Literary Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Tin House Online, The Letters Page, and elsewhere. She is at work on her first collection of poems, and a work of prose. She lives in Maine.

Photo by Charles Parker on Pexels.

After Darkness, a Neighbor Turns the Lights On

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