Night Host

A perfectionist,
the things you were good at were whispered
in the backseat of a car in 1994
though Mazzy Star was saying something louder,
how to carry something without touching it,
how to make the perfect crust your hands should be cold.

Only later did I realize your perfection depended on light
and the tricks it could play, on dimness and shadows
at the edge of the seats,
and that for a while it depended on your hands being rough.

How did I never notice you were only perfect at sunset
when the night hosts were signing on and the news was over
or the dawn hour of shins under pulled sheets.

The overnight service hadn’t even signed off
those mornings,
in the dark quiet stories about a foreign war.
But the sheets were not fields, the forest not skin.
There was no metaphor

except that I now hear you in static
between stations, half lit, torn denim
against leather, something undone.

The dial turns the thing you couldn’t hold,
fingertip against dulled chrome. 

***

Michael Goodfellow’s first collection, Naturalism, An Annotated Bibliography, is forthcoming from Gaspereau Press, and his poems have previously appeared in The Dalhousie ReviewThe Cortland ReviewThe American Journal of Poetry, and elsewhere. He lives in Nova Scotia.

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