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the club

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


from Daylily Called it a Dangerous MomentFind more by Alessandra Lynch at the library

Copyright © 2017 Alessandra Lynch
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Alessandra Lynch Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.