It is later than safe.
The city street are mostly empty.
A few stragglers like yourself still walk.
The store fronts are closed,
all the displays brought inside,
Commerce gone dark.
you could not say why
I am here.
Unable to sleep, you walk in the night
without a destination, without purpose,
There are more of us than you imagine.
Strays I mean, wandering the streets,
but mostly in the daytime
when we are better disguised.
Here in the night,
we are all a little lost, comfortable in the dark.
It is a strange kind of dark.
The stars that surround you in your home
do not exist here.
There is noise. Traffic.
Trash bags on the street.
People sleeping on the sidewalks.
Steam rises from vents.
Lights in the alleyways.
Where you come from there are no alleyways.
None of this exists where you come from.
There, people walk at night in peace. Not here.
Here there is a restlessness,
A film noir kind of energy,
an almost danger, a sense
that none of us are supposed to be here.
You look up. There are windows.
Rows of them, lit up and you wonder at them.
Who is there? What are they doing
this hour of the night?
Do they feel safe? Do you?
Strangely, you do.
You have always felt out of place,
Less safe around people than with,
more comfortable as you age,
with what you cannot see,
than what you can,
more a believer in the empty spaces of night
Than the bright gossamer lies of day.
Better to know your danger than not.
This is what you tell yourself
as you stop at Saint Josephs
and watch the saints shine, stained glass
reaching into the night.
About this poem.
People tell you things. Some of them are true.
I have a weakness (I Know, one of many, many, many) for walking city streets at night. I know better, but like so many weaknesses, I still do it.