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spray of carnations on the sidewalk

sensuous horns and heavy bass
spilling from open doors
out into the torrid summer air
and its parade of exposed skin
shades of brown and boldness
tangles of conversation and
a seemingly contagious drunkenness

permeating the hour that
had long become a myth,
imaginary creature I’ve glimpsed
from my responsible bed and
lethargic, motherhood-weighed dreaming

I’ve forgotten the riot of culture
and cultivated desire that
the city, any city, feeds off at night
or the way it comes alive
dressed in temptation
with the tattoos showing
the frank pursuit of sin and synesthesia

or the lights that shine
the fiercest around the edges
and blur everything they touch

I feel like an impostor,
negotiating this traffic
cutting through a sea of vibrance
idling at the intersection of
North, Damen and Milwaukee Avenues
just under the Blue Line tracks
thoughts of my ordinariness
swirling around me like a cloud
of unsifted flour,
waiting for a change of light
waiting to be released by the past
waiting to return to life

on the long road from church to home

“Brooklyn at Night”, Editorial for Elle Brazil, January 2014
by photographer Nicole Heiniger


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