“These Real, Dark Nights” by Eva H.D.

Poetry Pause is the League of Canadian Poets’ daily poetry dispatch. Read “These Real, Dark Nights” from Eva H.D.’s collection The Natural Hustle, shortlisted for the League’s Pat Lowther Memorial Award.

These Real, Dark Nights

By Eva H.D.

That’s what I remember: these real

dark nights. Ken or someone leaning

on the bar. The street like snuffed

candles, the shine on bruised and

swollen skin. The snow turning into

rain as Lee’s hospital bracelets formed

a garland of reproof, sticky as the Jäger

splotched linoleum. Dull as the wood

showing through, the holes in the wood,

the roaches shaking from the shrill coats

of after dark women. Abortions, arson.

The inked faces foreshadowing the needle

scarred arms, even before the sleeves roll

back, like lips spitready, like eyes. Cops.

Men’s faces hanging like stolen coats

from their hooks. The fratricidal opiates

of these midnight masses, cocaine burning

the fine hairs lining their nasal cavities

like singed insects, incinerating under

the gaze of glass and light. Rounds of

light pouring from the freezer at the rate

of real estate rising. The throats burning,

the books of matches. These real, dark

nights, everything burned and burned.

It was not as we thought then the light

that blinded us, but the ash.

Eva H.D. wrote this book and also Jackals & Fireflies, not a book.

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