was really a shack.
In four steps, you could back out into the lot
and its smoky light. In two steps, cut
through the mechanical whir
of the strobe. The slam-slam hiss.
Ice thinning in its glass.
One squat toilet in the stall—
yellowmouthed—under light too dim
for you to discern blood from dirt.
You were there to lose yourself. There
from loneliness, for love of dancing. You said
you felt safe in the center
of the strobe, a manic flower,
petals whirling so fast
they could disintegrate.
They always played your song, and when you
climbed the steps to the DJ in his corner, how tiny he was
behind bulletproof glass, turning
knobs, adjusting the bass. Dull beat-boom-thud.
You tapped, said I’m sorry and looked out at the floor,
unwieldy with humans.
Before you made your request, the DJ began
crying: Are you clean, are you clean? Nobody’s clean—all my friends
in the pit, needles and smoke, all my friends gone
dirty, all gone. You’re not clean.
Can’t be. Still you stared at his face, asked for Prince,
and returned the next night—severed
purple and gold and green by the strobe—
intent on dancing hard
till the man got littler, littler till
the club-light fizzles, till there is only the outside
air that will not rise above
Copyright © 2017 Alessandra Lynch
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.