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Asleep Somewhere on Thirteenth and Elm

you can’t speak to the night,
though it speaks to you,
in the sound of Bessie Smith
singing blues, her voice
mingling with the static
of a half-tuned radio.
and you can’t be heard
above the slowness of water
trickling endlessly down the gutter
and flirting with car tires
on sundry streets.
'cause no, the night will not try
to speak to you
above the sound of
a phantom lover’s voice:
ghostly murmurs of smoke and honey,
whispering intangibles
that linger like perfume.


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