“Sonnet for the Night Shift” by Kim Harvey

Ekphrastic Challenge, August 2018: Editor’s Choice


Waiting by Alexis Rhone Fancher

Image: “Waiting” by Alexis Rhone Fancher. “Sonnet for the Night Shift” was written by Kim Harvey for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, August 2018, and selected as the Editor’s Choice.

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Kim Harvey


For the barbacks and the line cooks, this one’s
for you, for the jostle and bustle of
busboys hustling tips, for the aprons
and grease, for the fluorescent light above,

for how her hair falls at the nape of her
neck, for the way memory works, something
I chase, something I can’t control, slow burn
of swoon-jazz on the jukebox, for the sting

of tequila, for the draft beer on tap,
for the ones who come back night after night,
for yesterday’s special wrapped up as scraps
and for those who pass through just for a bite

or some human contact, for busting ass
and for refilling every empty glass.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
August 2018, Editor’s Choice


Comment from the editor, Timothy Green: “Many excellent poems saw something sad or sinister in Alexis Rhone Fancher’s photograph, but Kim Harvey managed to flip the script entirely. I can’t remember the last time I read a good old fashioned praise poem. And there’s so much in this world worthy of praise that slips by unnoticed. I appreciated being reminded of that—and of all the night shifts I’ve worked over the years, and the strange intermingling of duty and possibility that comes to life in those hours.”

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