‘Night Thoughts,’
A Poem by A.E. Stallings

From Her Collection Like

April 29, 2019  By A.E. Stallings

Night thoughts are not like bats,
Do not trip out at dusk
With bumbershoots and spats,
And fur coats, in sub fusc,

Do not fall into flight
Into the upside-down
Colander of the night,
And stagger on the town.

They do not zag and zig
Giddy on the wing
As a jigsaw’s jig.
They do not squeak or sing.

They’re not the sharps and flats,
The blues notes in the key,
The way it seems that bats
Are accidentals, free

To swoop beyond the tune.
The thoughts at night that come
Are midnight’s afternoon,
Desolate and dumb.

They weep their limestone tears,
They hang, but do not fly,
Accretion of the years,
They sweat. They petrify.

Excerpted from LIKE by A. E. Stallings. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, September 25th 2018. Copyright © 2018 by A. E. Stallings. All rights reserved.

A.E. Stallings
A.E. Stallings
A.E. Stallings is the author of four books of poetry: Archaic Smile, which won the Richard Wilbur Award; Hapax, which won the Poets' Prize and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Benjamin J Danks Award; Olives; and Like, which was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize. She has also published a verse translation of Lucretius's The Nature of Things. Stallings is a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow and a 2011 MacArthur Fellow. She lives in Athens, Greece.

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