The Witching Hour


C’mon, pour another, my mother’s friend says.

The juke throbs.

   Everybody black dancing the wobble

in that Florida town. Tonic fizzes in two fingers of vodka.

As my mother

   commemorates her beauty with a selfie,

I’m dancing with trees


that are not trees but black and brown people. Strobe lights

flower on our arms.


The only gay bar in this Midwestern town is called Live,

not as in give but

   hive—imagine if bees were nocturnal,

making physical what night is

on their patrols: possibility. Imagine centuries of women

      walking alone in the woods

(burned), living foreign and old (jailed), naming

names (______).

   Imagine the femme grinding against me,

granting me passage

into a pleasure at once theirs and only mine and ours.


Who we are to each other on the dancefloor shifts,

someone one hour, nothing another.

                 I will always be

my mother’s child. Even now she keeps me in attention

in the great night of her mind:

worry and hope and the skulking moon over hazy water.


Tomorrow she will text to make sure I’m alive.