“Nocturne in What Now Feels Like a Very Silly Dress” by Courtney Kampa

Courtney Kampa


Tonight there are no taxis
in Harlem, and the moon is somewhere,
mustering itself the way a man does
to take himself to someone else.
You know this night. The one so large you can stand full height
inside it, your eyes blade level
with its throat. And this street, you know it too: busy intersection
where you speak a little louder to be heard
above the blood inside you, gunning
two directions like traffic down a bridge. The taxi, if you could find one,
is for only you, though he is standing here—
because though he’s just left you, he won’t leave you
until he’s seen you safely
on your way—the good-guy, the gentleman, fearing nothing
so much as appearing not to be. He has to think a little louder to be heard
above these speeches corked
inside him, the ones he knows you wouldn’t listen to
in a way he would enjoy. He has watched you die
before. His silence, which is a doorlessness
the street comes, also, to resemble. His hands half-hidden
in his shirt sleeves, like a boy.

from Rattle #43, Spring 2014
Tribute to Love Poems


Courtney Kampa: “Why write? Revenge.”

Rattle Logo